TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS
CHAPTERS OF A BIOGRAPHY
PRESENTED TO THE FACULTY OF BRYN MAWR COLLEGE IN PARTIAL
FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE
OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
BRYN MAWR, PENNSYLVANIA
TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS
CHAPTERS OF A BIOGRAPHY
PRESENTED TO THE FACULTY OF BRYN MAWR COLLEGE IN PARTIAL
FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE
OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
ALICE HILL BYRNE
BRYN MAWR, PENNSYLVANIA
THE NEW ERA PRINTING COMPANY
CHAPTER I. Atticus as Man of Business I
CHAPTER II. Atticus as Man of Letters 23
CHAPTER III. Atticus in Politics 52
In attempting a biography of Atticus, I have considered his
life under its more significant aspects. The collection and col-
lation from Cicero's letters of facts concerning his life has
been admirably done by Drumann, and it would be super-
fluous to give the results of an independent study where these
coincide with results already published.
Atticus figures in the life of his time as a representative of
the propertied classes with business interests, as a typical man
of leisure and culture, a promoter of intellectual activity and
himself a producer of a work in historical method, and, most
significantly, as the political adviser of a man of greater genius
than he, to whom he was able to supply balance and insight.
In the chapter on Atticus as a man of letters, I have thought
it proper to introduce many of the conjectures made by scholars
as to the scope and influence of Atticus' literary work. While
few of these can be established, the impression made by the
sum of them is probably a fairer representation of Atticus'
position in the intellectual world than could be reached by con-
sidering only the facts susceptible of proof.
The original sources for a life of Atticus are the brief biog-
raphy of Nepos, the letters of Cicero to Atticus and certain
dialogues of Cicero. 1 These, with some mention of Atticus
found in Cicero's letters to other correspondents, 2 two letters
from Brutus, 3 three references in the work of Nepos outside
the biography, 4 Varro's presentation of the Epirot stock farmer
in De Re Rustica, and the brief references of Valerius Maxi-
1 De Legibus, Brutus, Orator, Academica, De Finibus, De Senectute,
2 Ad Fam. V. 4, i ; 5 ; VII. 30, 2; 31, 2; IX. 8, i ; 26, i ; XI. 29; XIII.
i; 17; 18; XIV, 10; 14, 2; 19; XVI. 23; Ad. Q. F. II. 10, 2.
8 Ad Brut. I. 16, i ; 17.
* Vitae, Dedication; 24, 3, 5 ; 23, 13, I,
mus, 5 Seneca, 6 Pliny, 7 Asconius, 8 Quintilian, 9 Tacitus, 10 Sue-
tonius, 11 Pronto, 12 Censorinus, 13 Solinus 14 and Charisius 15 con-
stitute the testimony of antiquity on the subject. 16
The biography of Nepos was a complimentary monograph,
written largely during the lifetime of Atticus. It has many of
the characteristics of the modern journalistic write-up. It be-
trays the defects of Nepos' biographical work in general, care-
lessness in the presentation of facts, 17 lack of psychological
penetration, undiscriminating laudation. 18 Nepos had a first-
hand knowledge of Atticus and of some of his friends, and
thus had a foundation of truth for the facts that he presents
to an extent that he could not claim for any other biography,
but his general statements are not always to be taken literally ;
in fact, the sweeping negative statement is one of his manner-
isms, and is often rhetorical rather than accurate. 19 Both his
facts and his characterizations must be discounted when they
conflict with the evidence of the letters. Nevertheless there
are passages in the biography that seem to be echoes of con-
versation with Atticus, and may convey his own statement of
motive or his own comments on his life. 20
5 VII. 8, 5.
6 Ep. Mor. 21 and 07.
*N. H. XXXV. II ; List of Sources for VII. and XXXIII.
8 On Pro Cornelio, p. 60 Stangl ; On In Pisonem, p. 18 Stangl.
VI. 3, 109; VIII. 3, 32.
10 Annals II. 43.
11 De Grammaticis 14 and 16 ; Tiberius 7.
12 Ep. I. 7, Naber, p. 20.
" De Die Natali 2.
14 Collectanea Rerum Memorabilium I. 27.
15 I. 12, 6 Keil.
16 Plutarch mentions the correspondence of Brutus with Atticus,
17 His mistake of four years about Cicero's age is sufficient evidence
of his carelessness in regard to facts easily ascertainable (Gellius, Noct.
Att. XV. 28).
18 Cf . Schanz, Rom. Litt. I. 2, 160, Ein adaquates Lebensbild zu
schaffen, dazu fehlte es ihm an philosophische Begabung.
19 Nemo aliud acrpama, 14, i, may be as dubious as Nulla lex, 18, 2,
or as untrue as omnisque ejus pecuniae reditus, 14, 3.
20 E.g., 2, 5 ; 3, 3 ; 6, though in the last there are general statements
that are too sweeping.
The letters of Cicero constitute evidence of the highest value
both for fact and for characterization. Many quotations from
Atticus' own letters may be gleaned from them; 21 many in-
ferences as to Atticus' point of view may fairly be drawn from
the explanations, protests or apologies that Cicero feels con-
strained to make to him. The urbanity proper to the corre-
spondence of two men of the world, the natural tendency to
heighten in letter writing the significance of all that belongs to
the correspondent, must be taken into consideration in drawing
conclusions, 22 but when all due discount has been made, the
letters remain one of the most sincere and frank of extant
The evidence offered by Atticus' speeches in the dialogues of
Cicero carries less weight and may be counted as convincing
only when it reinforces conclusions drawn from the letters.
Yet the care that Cicero used in choosing interlocutors, the effort
that he made to assign to each man a part consonant with his
ideas and not too far beyond his capacities, 23 added to the fact
that in the case of a living interlocutor a serious misrepresenta-
tion of reality would have aroused unfavorable comment, make
it a fair inference that Atticus was not made the mouthpiece
of ideas at variance with his own and that the experiences to
which he refers may be accepted as facts.
The studies of Atticus by Hulleman 24 and Schneider 25 pre-
ceded the work of Drumann. Drumann's chapter on Atticus 2 *
is a monument of painstaking erudition, invaluable as an index
but of small value as an interpretation. The dissertation of
Ungherini 27 and the chapter on Atticus by Boissier 28 are too
21 A collection of these has been made by Consoli, Attici Epistnlarum
ad Ciceronem Reliquiae, 1913.
22 For instance, in writing of his provincial administration Cicero
refers constantly to Atticus' counsels, though he had himself urged the
same high standards upon his brother in 60.
23 See Ried's Introduction to the Aca-demica.
24 Diatribe in T. Pomponium Atticum, 1838.
23 De T. Pomponi Attici annali, 1839.
26 Geschichte Rows, V. 5-87 ; revised by Groebe.
27 Del carrot ere di T. Pomponio Attico, 1897.
28 Ciceron et ses amis, 1905.
much colored by the point of view of Drumann, who unduly
magnifies and often misunderstands Atticus' commercial activi-
ties. An excellent brief biography is given in Peter's Histori-
corum Romanorum Reliquia, and good studies in the biog-
raphies of Cicero by Strachan-Davidson and Sihler. On the
literary work of Atticus the monographs of Miinzer are dis-
tinguished for learning and penetration.
In the study of the letters, I am indebted to the work of
Tyrrell and Purser to an extent that I cannot adequately
acknowledge nor even measure.
ATTICUS AS MAN OF BUSINESS.
The extent and nature of Atticus' business interests are
matters of inference rather than of knowledge. The evidence
is scant, and many statements that appear in biographies of
Atticus are unwarranted.
When about twenty-four years old, 1 Atticus left Rome for
Athens-, taking with him, as a counsel of prudence, the larger
part of his inheritance. The date of his departure can not be
exactly determined. Nepos implies that he left Italy in 87,
while the contest between Cinna and Octavius was making life
precarious for the partisans of both sides ; 2 but in 87 Athens
was actively involved in the Mithridatic war and by no means
a refuge for a young man seeking security. It seems certain
that Atticus did not enter it until some time after March of 86,
when the city, after a long siege, fell into the hands of Sulla. 3
He must then have left Italy when the government of Cinna
had weathered its first storm ; that is, he did not avail himself
of the pecuniary advantages that the members of his order
reaped so greedily under Cinna's administration. 4 He went to
a city depleted by siege and confiscation : the island colonies, so
largely the stimulus of Athenian trade, were forfeited; the
slaves, who had formed the laboring class, were confiscated;
commercially and industrially Athens was decadent. 5 On the
other hand, a Roman resident in a foreign state was in a posi-
tion to take advantage of " the exclusive ability of the Italians
1 109 has been the date accepted for Atticus' birth, but Groebe, com-
paring Nep. Att. 21 and Ad Att. IX. 5, i, where he retains the reading
Natali, argues that if Atticus was ill for more than three months after
completing his seventy-seventh year, and died in March of 32, he must
have been seventy-seven in March of 33, and hence was born in na
2 Att. 2, 2.
3 So Sihler, p. 30; cf. Drumann, V. 7.
4 Asconius, On In Toga Candida, p. 69 Stangl.
5 Ferguson, Hellenistic Athens. The colonies were restored by Sulla
in 84, but the commercial activity of the decade 100-90 did not revive.
2 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
to make loans to municipalities and to men resident outside
their own towns, with the assurance that the Roman officials
would permit or enable them to enforce their contracts." 8
Nepos' account of Atticus' life during this period conveys
the idea of a man of wealth and leisure, devoting himself
largely to study, keeping an eye on his property, yet giving
generously of his counsel and support to the unfortunate
Athenians. According to Nepos, Atticus lent money to the
Athenian state, which could not get easy rates on the market,
refusing interest but insisting on prompt repayment of the prin-
cipal, furnished free grain to the city, giving more than a
bushel to each citizen, and acted as the state's unofficial adviser,
consulted on all questions concerning the common weal. 7 Now
the patrimony that Nepos assigns to Atticus, 2,000,000 ses-
terces, 8 does not warrant the munificence chronicled. Unless
Atticus inherited a larger sum or increased his patrimony by
active and successful business, he must have been unable to
make large loans or to give donations to municipalities.*
There is little information about Atticus' business affairs in
the letters of 68 to 65. Besides a residence at Athens, 10 he had
a house in Rome, occupied by his mother and sister and the
latter's husband, Quintus Cicero. 11 Shortly before or during
68, he bought land in Epirus, near Buthrotum. 12 In 67, he con-
sidered buying a Neapolitan estate, but was anticipated in the
purchase. 13 The letters show friends in Rome acting for him
in personal and business affairs Cicero, 14 Sextus Peducaeus, 15
6 Ibid., p. 404.
7 Att. 2, 3.
8 Att. 14, 2.
9 It is possible that Nepos drew his statement about the gift of grain
from a single instance belonging to the year 50 (VI. 6, 2) ; Cicero's
comment on that instance shows that such gifts were not habitual with
Atticus. See n. 72.
10 Near the Ilissus; De Fin. V. 96; De Leg. I. 3.
"I. 8, i.
12 ! 5. 7 J perhaps this purchase was only an addition to an estate
already in Atticus' possession ; if Varro avoids anachronism in De Re
Rustica, Atticus had a well stocked farm and authoritative experience
in farming in 67, the year to which Book II. is ascribed.
13 1. 6, i.
" I, 5, 4 and 5 ; 8, i ; etc. " I. 5, 4; 4, i.
ATTICUS AS MAN OF BUSINESS. 3
Sallustius 16 and an agent, Cincius, handling his money. 17
There is a question of inheritance that involves Tadius, 18 and
a long discussion and controversy with Acutilius over some
matter of bargain and sale. 19 The only sign of Atticus' own
activity is in his purchases for Cicero's Tusculan villa. 20 Cicero
thought Atticus, as compared with himself, a man of leisure ; 21
and yet in 67, though he wanted Atticus' assistance in Rome in
his candidacy for the praetorship, he felt that his friend's busi-
ness affairs in Greece were too important to be left. 22
The presumption from the evidence for these years, taken
together with what we know of Atticus' activities after he left
Athens, is that while he was pursuing the liberal arts in that
city, incidental friendly loans to Athenians or to Italians travel-
ling abroad gradually led him to develop a banking business.
Doubtless his financial interests were furthered by the prestige
that his knowledge of both the Greek and the Roman world
conferred on him, and by his ability to advise in matters of law
and business. During this same period he was investing in
In buying an estate in Epirus, Atticus chose retirement and
simplicity. Buthrotum was off the main routes of travel, 23 and
Atticus' estate was sheltered even from such currents of for-
eign intercourse as agitated Corcyra. 24 The region was noted
for the growing of fruit and the breeding of horses and cattle. 25
The place became a center of activity, probably not only as a
16 1. n, i ; cf. 3, 3.
11 1. 7, i ; 8, 2; cf. 20, 7, amicus tuus.
18 I. 5, 6 ; 8, i ; it seems to me out of harmony with the general tenor
of the letters to suppose that Atticus was advising the defrauding of a
ward. Either he simply stated his conception of the law or Tadius
" I. 4, i ; 8, i ; 5, 4-
20 See ch. II. notes 45-49 ; it is likely that Atticus made further pur-
chases for Cicero in his trip of 61-60 (II. I, u).
"I. 5, 4; 6, i.
22 I. 10, 6.
23 I. 5, 3-
2*111.7, i ; IV. 8, i.
25 Pliny, H. N. XV. 15 ; Gear. I. 59.
4 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
farm, 26 but also as a station for extending the banking busi-
ness. 27 While Buthrotum was not traversed by the Roman
legions on their way to Macedonia and Asia, it was a harbor
and lay on one of the Roman coast roads, and thus gave facil-
ities for reaching out into an unexploited neighborhood. At-
ticus eventually made this estate his place of residence while
in Greece, but seems still to have lived in Athens during the
winter of 6S-67 28 and to have spent some time there in 65. 28
After 65, his residences were in Italy and Epirus. 30
He may have intended to spend most of his life in Epirus,
making occasional trips to Italy as he had done from Athens,
but the desire of the two Ciceros for his political assistance
kept him in Rome during much of the years 66-63 ; possibly he
became so much involved during those years in business and
personal relations as to spend more of his subsequent life in
Rome than he had planned to do. However, he lived in Epirus
for a large part of the time before he inherited his uncle's
property; thereafter his enlarged fortunes doubtless enabled
him to live in Rome according to his liking. 31
26 In R. R. II. Varro assigns A., among other stock, eight hundred
head of sheep no large flock for an Epirot farm.
27 Cf. the agents in Corcyra, V. 9, I.
28 Cicero's commissions presuppose a residence in Athens.
29 I. I, 2, quoniam propius abes.
30 Nepos states his impression that Atticus went to Rome to live in 65
(Att. 4, 5). He had planned to go to Rome in January, 66, but' post-
poned going (I. 3, 2). Later, Cicero urged him to hold to his plan of
coming in July, to assist in Quintus' canvass for the praetorship (I.
4, l). As his friend Lucius Torquatus was standing for the consulship
at the same time, it is likely that he went. There are no letters between
the first half of 66 and the middle of 65 ; Atticus was probably in Rome
during much of that time. In the summer of 65, Cicero asked him to
come to Rome to help in the consular canvass, and he planned to be
in Rome by January (I. 2, 2). It is likely that he finally gave up resi-
dence in Athens in the latter half of 65.
81 Atticus' movements, so far as discoverable, may be summarized
as follows :
Left for Epirus, December, 62 (I. 13, i ; cf. 12, 4) ; returned, Decem-
ber, 60, probably (I. 18, I ; II. 2, 3; 3, 4).
Left for Epirus in 59, about May (II. 18, i) ; returned near end of 59
(II. 23, 3; 25, 2; III. 15, 4, leg em de collegiis'). I cannot find that
Tyrrell has ground for heading III. 9, to Atticus on his way to Greece.
Atticus seems not to have made the trip he planned for June i. Made
ATTICUS AS MAN OF BUSINESS. 5
He announced and adhered to a policy of abstention from
the great political-commercial prizes of the day, the provincial
offices. 32 The higher positions were not open to him except
through a political career, but he had at his refusal staff posi-
tions that he could have made very lucrative. 33 In a letter of
61, he referred to the opportunities for enrichment, in the
provinces and at Rome, that he had allowed to pass by. Even
in 63, when he had at his command the influence of the most
powerful magistracy in the state, he neither sought nor ac-
cepted any post. At the risk of a family quarrel, he refused a
place on the staff of Quintus Cicero when the latter went to
Asia as propraetor. He had made his decision, as Cicero said,
for a life of honorable retirement. 34
Nevertheless he was not without business interests in the
provinces. Early in 61, he left Rome on a business trip with
Epirus as its base, and did not return until the end of 60. The
major object of this trip was the " siege of Sicyon," that is, the
collection of money lent in that city, probably to the municipal-
ity. 35 Whether this loan was an isolated case or one of many
brief visit to Dyrrachium, December, 58 (III. 25), if a me of III. 25,
is to be retained. Sjogren retains it, Commentationes Tullianae, p. 86.
Left for Epirus, probably early in 57 (cessation of letters as evi-
dence) ; certainly was in Greece in September (IV. i, i) ; was in Italy
before January 28, 56 (IV. 4).
Left for Epirus and Asia Minor, May 10, 54 (IV. 14, i) ; returned,
November, 54 (IV. 19, i).
Left for Epirus and Athens, end of 51 (V. 18, i ; 19, i ; 21, i ; VI. i, 19
and 24; 6, 2) ; reached Rome September 19, 50 (VI. 9, i).
Probably was in Epirus during the latter half of 49 (IX. 7,7; 12, i;
X. 5, 3; 17, 4).
Planned trip to Epirus, July, 45 (XIII. 25, 3), July, 44 (XVI. 2, 6),
but did not get away from Italy.
32 I. 16, 14; 17, 5 and 7; Nep. Att. 6.
33 Nep. Att. 6, 4; he accepted prefectures offered him by way of com-
pliment, but refused active service.
34 I. 17, 5 ; Tyrrell, commenting on quae asperius actae videbantur (I.
20, i), says, "Atticus certainly did see something to complain of in the
conduct of Cicero, else why did he recapitulate his services to Cicero
and the chances that he had lost for his sake?" The passage referred
to (I. 17, 5), shows only that Atticus defended himself against the
charge arising from whatever source of personal animus in this par-
ticular refusal to enter into active life, by referring to his uniform
refusal even of most propitious opportunities.
35 I. 13, i ; certainly not, as Tyrrell suggests, by military coercion.
TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
provincial investments, whether it represented Atticus' capital
or that of his uncle or some other capitalist, we cannot say.
Atticus started on his journey armed with a letter from
Cicero to Antonius, proconsul of Macedonia, containing a re-
quest for assistance to Atticus in his business. The assumption
that the business referred to was the collection of the Sicyonian
debt is open to question : 36 in the first place, Cicero's letter was
so contemptuous and menacing as to make it probable that it
was intended primarily as an expostulation and a warning to
Antonius, Atticus' business being only an excuse for presenting
the letter through an effective mediary; 37 in the second place,
as Cicero assumed that Atticus would go straight from Epirus
to Sicyon and later, at some indefinite time, to Macedonia, 38
the letter to Antonius was evidently not Atticus' prime reliance
in the matter of the debt. It may be that Atticus had business
in Macedonia in which he wanted Antonius' help. In 60, he
asked Cicero to speak in his behalf to Octavius, the successor
of Antonius, but again there is no evidence that the subject was
Sicyon. Cicero answered that he had written to Octavius but
had not interviewed him, because he felt that the business in
question was not really a matter for a governor's considera-
tion, and did not class his friend among the small usurers who
were wont to be importunate for proconsular assistance. 89
36 Achaia was probably erected into a province by Julius Caesar
shortly before 45 (see Mommsen, Hermes, 1893,603). The Greek states
were not formally subordinated to Macedonia before 57, when the
Clodian law put them under the control of the Macedonian governor,
at least for the period of Piso's administration (In Pisonem, yj and
95; De Domo. 60). Before that date, their position was ambiguous;
theoretically, they were autonomous, but some of them paid tribute to
Rome and their courts were probably controlled by the governor of
Macedonia (so Hatzfeld, B. C. H. 1909, 222-225. Colin, Rome et la
Greece, 668 f., ascribes to them a greater financial and judicial inde-
pendence, while Groebe, Ath. Mitth. 1908, 135 ff., says without qualifi-
cation that Achaia and Athens, in the early part of the century, belonged
37 Ad Fam. V. 5. So Schiche, Z. G. 1904, II. 419.
8 I. 13, i.
89 II. I, 12. As objections to the traditional interpretation of this
passage presented by Tyrrell may be offered ( i ) putabam and habebam
should be treated as epistolary tenses; Tyrrell's translation would be
ATTICUS AS MAN OF BUSINESS. 7
Whether on the same or on other business, Atticus still wanted
to keep in touch with the. governor of Macedonia in 58. In the
spring of that year, Cicero assumed that he would not leave
Rome until the bill appointing the new proconsul had been
Atticus' experience with the Sicyonian debt shows that there
was in some quarters of the senate a tender conscience with re-
gard to Greece. 41 Shortly before March of 60, Servilius, one
of Cato's following, managed to insert quietly in a long decree
a clause that evidently cut off some resource depended upon by
money lenders in the collection of debts from the free states. 42
Atticus at once found the collection of his money more difficult.
In answer to his complaints, Cicero advised him not to hope for
any repeal of the measure, for while there had been some meet-
ings of protest, the clause when once passed had appealed to
a certain idealism in the senate, some of it ill-natured, and the
number of those adversely affected was too small for effective
Atticus now had no recourse, wrote Cicero, save his own
blandishments for coaxing money out of the Sicyonians. 44 The
matter by no means occupied all his time, for Cicero wrote of
Atticus' life at this period as one of abundant leisure, 45 but it
more natural for a pluperfect; (2) the translation of tocullionibus is
strained ; money lending in Macedonia would not make Atticus more
of a tocullio than money lending in Epirus or Sicyon ; (3) it is highly
improbable that Cicero did not know definitely for what objects Atticus
wanted his influence with Octavius used. For the interpretation of
provincialia given above see Ad Q. F. I. I, 20, scientia provincialis,
knowledge proper to a provincial governor, and cf. VI. 1,5; Pro Sest.
7 and 13, In Vat. 35.
40 III. i.
41 In 57, Cicero speaks of the Greek states as having been the property
of the whole Roman state before Gabinius gave them into the hands
of Piso (De Domo, 60, bona civium Romanorum). In 59, a law of
Julius Caesar's expressly confirmed the rights of the so-called free
states (In Pis. 37).
42 Tyrrell on I. 19, 9, conjectures that the decree forbade provincial
governors to take cognizance of claims for debt against free states.
43 I. 19, 9; 20, 4; in the latter passage I read attribues with Lambinus,
believing on other grounds that Atticus' answer to I. 19 had not reached
Cicero when II. i was written. Cf. II. i, 10. See n. 35, Ch. II.
44 1. 19, 9.
45 I. 19,1.
8 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
was a strong interest, and he was reluctant to leave Greece
without having accomplished the object of his journey. 48 He
was compelled to do so, but after reaching Rome he set on foot
a new effort, probably that of obtaining from the senate letters
advising the Sicyonians to pay. He had not yet obtained these
in April of 59- 47 Perhaps he had them before he left for Greece
in the course of that year. 48 There is no evidence to sihow
whether he collected the debt ; in the year 58, however, Sicyon
is known to have surrendered certain pictures from its public
buildings because of insolvency. 49
Cicero realized that his friend was becoming more and more
involved in financial matters. In urging him to come home, he
warned him jestingly that to arrive for the census just at the
end of the period was too much like the act of a mere business
From an early date the two Ciceros and Atticus were iden-
tified in their class consciousness with the equites and were
especially bound by professional and business interests to those
members of their order who were engaged in tax-farming or
in money lending in the provinces. 51 It is likely that Atticus,
with his long period of foreign residence and his numerous
connections abroad, was of service to Cicero in building up his
provincial clientage. His influence in the world of provincial
business is indicated by Cicero's request for help in a matter
that threatened, in 59, to embroil him either with the tax col-
lectors or with the traders in Quintus' province. He asked
Atticus to see the Greek traders, if they should come to Rome
to protest against paying port duties on unsold goods, and to
46 II. 1,4.
47 II. 13,2.
48 II, 21, 6.
* 9 Pliny, N. H. 35, 127. Mahafly (Silver Age of Greece) is not justi-
fied in stating that it was Atticus who forced the lien on these pictures,
which were a part of the extravagant display of the aedile Scaurus, but
the inference is tempting.
60 1. 18, 8.
51 II. i, 10 ; VI. i, 5 and 10, tuum veterem gregem, and 15 ; XIV. 12, i.
ATTICUS AS MAN OF BUSINESS. 9
explain to them that Cicero did not think them liable for these
As early as 59, Atticus had money invested in public lands
and challenged, on his own and others' behalf, what seemed to
him excessive demands of the tax collectors. 53
It is possible that during this period Atticus had some share
in managing the investments of his uncle Caecilius, who was
wont on occasion to lend money in Rome at high interest. 54
Nepos testifies that while Caecilius repelled most people by his
irritability and harshness, he found his nephew complaisant
and obliging. 55 The direction of a fortune larger than his own
would help to account for the scope of Atticus' business
In the latter half of 58, Atticus became the heir of three
fourths of Caecilius' property, a fortune of 10,000,000 sesterces
and a house on the Quirinal, noted for the beauty of its park. 56
He seems to have occupied the house at once.
By 54, at latest, he had investments in Asia. On May 10 of
that year he left Rome for Epirus, hoping to direct all his af-
fairs in the East from that base, as he had agents in Asiia.
Finding that his Asiatic affairs needed his personal attention, he
started eastward, passing through Athens. 57 His business was
62 Cicero himself promised to advocate their cause in the senate, and
if it should prevail, to use his influence to conciliate the tax collectors,
confessing that if he should fail in the latter effort, he would remain
content with the goodwill of the province and the traders, which would
be of value to him and Quintus (II. 16, 4). This interpretation of the
passage follows the construction put upon discedamus and causa optima
by Manutius and differs with that of Tyrrell. For discussion, see
Tyrrell ad loc.
" I. 12, I ; cf. Val. Max. VII. 8, 5.
55 Nep. Att. 5, i ; cf. Ad Q. F. I. 2, 6.
56 III. 20, i; Nep. Att. 13, 2; cf. XII, 45, 2; De Leg. I. I, 3. An
inscription found in the sixteenth century (C. I. L. 6, 1492) shows that
the palace of a prominent Pomponius not of course a descendant
stood in the vicinity in Trajan's time (Jordan-Hiilsen, Topographic der
stadt Roms, 406).
57 IV. 14, i and 2; 15, 2; 16, 7; 17, i. See Schiche, Z. G. 1908, II.
58 ff., for assumption, based on reading Patavium for putare (IV. 14,
i), that Atticus went north on leaving Rome, with chances of seeing
Caesar and Quintus.
10 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
quickly concluded; on August 9, he wrote from Ephesus;
towards the end of November, he was nearing Rome on his
homeward journey. 68
Slight indications of Atticus' transactions are found in the
visits and commissions mentioned by Cicero during the jour-
neys to and, from his province. He was entertained by Atticus'
agents at Corcyra and the Sybotian Islands. 69 In Athens, he
visited the Epicurean Xeno, who appears later as Atticus'
agent. 60 On reaching Ephesus, he interviewed Thermus, the
propraetor, in Atticus' behalf, commending to his good offices
Seius, 61 Xeno of Apollonia and Philogenes, Atticus' freed-
man. 62 He found that agents of Atticus had been in Ephesus
before his arrival and had received assurances of good will
from Thermus. 63 He investigated, apparently for Atticus, the
financial standing of Egnatius of Side. 64 The letters of the
year show that Atticus had a number of slaves on commissions
in Asia. 65
On his journey to Cilicia, Cicero saw at Delos accounts de-
posited there by Atticus, a further proof of business transac-
tions in the lands around the eastern Mediterranean. 66
During the spring and summer of 51, Atticus kept planning
a trip to Epirus 67 and Athens ; 68 this was postponed from time
to time and not begun until late in the year. 68 Replying to a
letter of the early summer, Cicero took for granted that one
cause for the delay was that Atticus wanted to see Pompey,
whose return from Ariminum he was awaiting. 70 Whether his
58 IV. 18, 5 ; 19, i.
58 V. 9, i; VII. 2, 3.
V. 10, 5; XV. 21, 2; XVI. i, 5; 3, 2.
61 Probably a Roman knight; cf. XII. 11 ; Ad Fam. 7X. 7, i.
62 For Philogenes as Atticus' representative in Asia, cf . V. 13, 2 ; 20,
8; VI. 2, i.
68 V. 13, 2.
64 VI. i, 23.
B VI. i, 13.
"V.i2,i; IX. 9, 4-
VI. i, 24.
69 V. 20, 8 and 9; cf. VI. i, i ; Tyrrell seems to be wrong in his note
on IX. 9, 4; Cicero saw merely the accounts.
70 V. 19, i.
ATTICUS AS MAN OF BUSINESS. 11
business with Pompey had to do with Cicero's affairs or with
his own we can not say.
This trip was made at least in part for the sake of a quiet
winter residence. 71 It included a visit to Athens, where Atticus
made a gift of grain to the citizens. Cicero showed by his jest-
ing protest that acts open to the charge of demagogism were
not in favor with the two friends, but conceded that the gift
might be regarded simply as the courtesy of a guest to his
In the meantime, Atticus built up a banking business in
Rome. The first indication is a reference to a disastrous loan ; 73
a few other loans are mentioned, notably one of fifty talents to
Caesar 74 and a small one to Quintus, the non-payment of which
seems to have been peculiarly irritating to Atticus ; 75 however,
there are far fewer references to Atticus' debtors than to those
of Cicero, whose numerous loans show that money lending was
by no means confined to the bankers. 76 More light on the bank-
ing business is gained from references to Atticus' handling of
other people's pecuniary affairs collecting debts, 77 supervising
the quality of coin in payments, 78 witnessing and executing
wills, 79 attending or conducting sales, 80 making purchases or in-
vestments, 81 placing loans with other bankers, 82 issuing bills of
exchange. 83 He acted as agent for the Ciceros, Cato, Horten-
sius, Aulus Torquatus, 84 Paetus. 85 Perhaps most of this service
was gratuitous ; at any rate, Atticus put much personal interest
" V. 21, i.
72 VI. 6, 2.
IV. 7, 2.
"VII. 18,4; X. ii, i ; 15,4-
'E.g., X. 15, i ; XI. 3, 3J XII. 47-
"XII. 13, 2; 18, 3; etc.
"II. 6,1 ; 16,4; XII. 6.
"XI. 13,3; XIII. 6.
XII. 50; 51, 2; XIII. 25, i; XV. 3, i.
81 XI. 13,4.
82 V. i, 2; XV. -20, 4; XVI. 2, 5.
83 V. 15, 2.
8 * Nep. Att. 15, 3.
85 I. 20, 7.
12 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
and toil into the discharge of commissions. The revenues of
the bank were probably derived largely from interest on loans.
There is no proof that Atticus handled government funds, but
he may have had his share of these, as well as of the sums that
poured into Rome from campaigns and governorships abroad.
Convincing evidence that banking was for Atticus a serious
business is found in the jests of Cicero ; during the elections of
54, for instance, he accused Atticus of regarding with unpa-
triotic complacency the rise of interest from four to eight per
The largest transaction recorded is the advance to Buthro-
tum, in 46, of the sum that Caesar required from that town as
an alternative to the confiscation of its lands. This loan threat-
ened to be disastrous from a financial standpoint, and Atticus
was compelled to set in motion all the political machinery in his
power to save his investment. 87
Atticus' place in the banking world was one of security and
cordial relations. Many of his business connections developed
friendships and mutual hospitality. 88
Atticus was interested in real estate at Rome. In a quip that
he took care to brand as such, Cicero exonerated him from all
obligation to Pompey in 49, because Pompey had brought down
the value of real estate in the city. 88 It is likely that he was
interested, not only as an owner, but also as a banker with
money invested by borrowers ; Cicero, for instance, had tene-
ments for rent. 90
Atticus invested some of his money outside the city in the
86 IV. 15, 7. A passage in IV. 17, 4, Nam profecto spent habes nullam
haec negotia multarum nundinarum fore, has been construed to mean
that Atticus profited by political disturbances; Sternkopf, Hermes,
1905. 32, offers a more probable interpretation: At this rate, the state
can not stand ; he compares X. 8, 6 and 7.
87 See ch. III. notes 225-227, 269-275.
88 XII. 4, 2, tui convivae doubtless including Oppius and Balbus ; XII.
47a, i; etc. VII. 2, 3, Ad Fam. VII. 30, 2, Curius; IV. 19, i; 3, Ves-
torius; V. 10, 5; n, 6, Xeno.
VII. 17, 1.
80 XV. 17, i.
ATTICUS AS MAN OF BUSINESS. 13
purchase of farms. He owned one near Momentum, just out-
side Rome, and one at Arretium; 91 the place at Ficulae men-
tioned by Cicero in planning a visit may have been the same as
the Nomentanum of Nepos. 92 The assertion of Nepos that
Atticus had no other source of revenue than his estates in
Epirus and his property in Rome* 3 is incorrect, as it excludes
the banking business and is otherwise at variance with the im-
plication of the letters. In 56, he was looking for a country
place, with a house, at Antium. 94 Discussing an abortive plan
of Atticus' for buying a place at Lanuvium, Cicero mentions
his habitual caution in buying farms, his questions about the
income to be expected and the productivity of the soil. 95 The
mention of the ledger at Delos suggests that he was wont to
buy land in the East as well as in Italy ; if so, his purchases
probably centered in Epirus and were practically an extension
of his original estate there ; when Cicero said that Atticus could
leave whomever he pleased in charge of Thesprotia and Cha-
onia, 96 he was of course exaggerating the size of the domain,
but it is not improbable that Atticus had extensive possessions
both north and south of the Thyamis.* 7
The importance of this estate as a source of income is shown
by the length and frequency of Atticus' visits to it, and by the
amount of attention that the Epirus mail and the reports of
his steward Alexio claimed from him. 98
In the merchandise that passed through Atticus' hands, we
find, in 56, a number of gladiators and fighters with beasts."
Atticus and Cosconius sold some of these to Cato for use as a
bodyguard. 100 They evidently had still others, in whose success
81 Nep. Att. 14, 3.
83 Nep. Att. 14, 3.
8 * IV. 8, x.
85 IX. 9, 4-
6 VI. 3, 2.
De Leg. II. 7.
os XII. 53 J XIII. 25, 3-
88 IV. 4a, 2.
100 Q. F. II. 4, 5. This was C. Cato, the tribune of 56.
14 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
they were interested after they had sold them for exhibition. 101
They seem not to have contemplated keeping the lot in their
possession and letting them for exhibition. 102
One of Atticus' sources of profit was the breeding and train-
ing of slaves for skilled employment. Nepos says that the num-
ber was small, limited to those bred on his own estates, but that
not one of these was left without training in some art or trade ;
that while some of this training aimed at the care of his houses
and estates, his specialty was readers and librarians. 103 In
spite of Nepos' statement, it is likely that Atticus bought some
slaves ; the transaction in gladiators shows that human com-
modities sometimes came into his possession in the course of
business ; besides, Cicero ascribes to him an interest in the
market for slaves of exceptional musical or literary ability. 104
Among those trained for Atticus' immediate service were the
agents who transacted his business in Italy, Greece and Asia,
and the messengers who acted as subordinates to these. The
agents were usually freedmen, emancipated in recognition of
services. Philogenes, after travelling widely in Asia as Atticus'
agent, appears later acting as agent in Rome. 103 Eutychides,
who was emancipated in 54, was acting as a steward in Epirus
in 5 1. 106
The literary slaves were trained first as readers ; Salvius was
one of the slaves preferred for reading to the guests at din-
ner. 107 Possibly Atticus let out his readers to furnish enter-
tainment at other people's dinners, but there is no evidence.
Some of the slaves were so highly cultivated as to be com-
panions and assistants in literary and historical work. Alexis,
who was Atticus' secretary and amanuensis, must have had
marked literary ability, as Cicero compared him to Tiro. 108
ii IV. 8, 2.
102 IV. 43, 2.
103 Nep. Att. 13, 3.
104 IV. 17, 6.
105 VII. 5, 317, 2.
"> IV. 15, i ; V. 9, I.
107 XVI. 2, 6.
"8 VII. 2, 3 ; XII. 10.
ATTICUS AS MAN OF BUSINESS. 15
Nicanor was given over to Cicero for secretarial work during
the latter's proconsulate. 109 Dionysius, emancipated some time
before Eutychides, also accompanied Cicero to Cilicia as tutor
of the young Ciceros and as a literary companion for the pro-
consul himself, who had already recognized his abilities in .
warm tributes. 110 Thallumetus shared with Atticus the read-
ing of De Re Publica. 111 Syrus, Satyrus and Antiochus were*
capable of assisting in historical research by looking up points
of detail. 112 Athenodorus Calvus, a freedman, drew up for
Cicero, when the De Officiis was in preparation, an abstract of
Posidonius' work on a like subject. 113
From an early period, certain slaves were trained in the care
of books. Atticus began collecting books while living in
Greece, and by 67 had accumulated a library that aroused
Cicero's envy, evidently with the intention of selling it. 114 He
built up in time a large library of his own, but may also have
bought books for others. 115 His slaves were expert librarians.
In 60, on receiving by gift the library of Servius Claudius,
Cicero commissioned Atticus to have the manuscripts trans-
ported to his house. 116 In 56, Atticus' workmen were employed
to rehabilitate the library of Cicero at Antium after the latter's
return from exile. Tyrannio, 117 Dionysius and Menophilus
directed the work, and we know of one of these, what was
V. 3, 3-
110 V. 3, 3 ; IV. 15, i ; 8a, i ; 15, 10.
i" V. 12, 2.
"2 XII. 22, 2; XIII. 33, 3-
"8 XVI. 11,4; 14, 4-
114 It may be, as St'rachan-Davidson assumes, that this library con-
sisted of manuscripts produced by Atticus' copyists. Cicero feared
that it would be sold and begged to have it reserved until he could buy
it (I. 10, 4; ii, 3).
115 In 59, Cicero offered payment for a copy of Serapion that Atticus
sent him, though he knew that it might be considered as a gift (II. 4,
i). He also had copied out by his own slaves a book that Atticus lent
him and returned the original (II. 20, 6; 22, 7).
118 I. 20, 7; II. i, 12.
117 For an identification of this Tyrannio with the scholarly freedman
of Lucullus, see Usener, Unser Platontext.
16 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
doubtless true of the other two, that he was qualified by his
wide acquaintance with literature to arrange a library. 118
Certain slaves were expert in the copying of manuscripts;
in fact, the copying establishment amounted to an independent
business; it is impossible to say how early it was organized. It
may have been an outgrowth of work done in the early col-
lecting of Greek manuscripts, or it may have grown out of
Atticus' interest in the circulation of Cicero's works.
These works were regularly submitted to Atticus for crit-
icism, but at the outset it is not certain that he was their pub-
lisher. In 61, we find him reading and criticizing a collection
of Cicero's orations ; these had been put into book form, pos-
sibly by Cicero's slaves, for the benefit of the younger genera-
tion of orators, and were perhaps already in circulation. 11 '
Ftfrther works were promised later, orations and the Prognos-
tica.* 20 In 60, in sending the memoir on his consulate, Cicero
made Atticus responsible for the sale of it in Greece ; as he had
already sent a copy to Posidonius, it seems improbable that
Atticus was the editor. 121 In 57, however, Cicero said, in
promising to Atticus the manuscript of De Dovno, that it should
be put at once into the hands of the students of oratory ; 122 the
I presumption that Atticus was to attend to the work of copying
and distribution is very strong. He seems to have controlled
the publication of Cicero's work in 56, when Cicero asked
\ whether he would permit the circulation of a recent poem ; 128
the question may, however, imply nothing more than that he
was an authority on the political expediency of such publication.
The first conclusive evidence that Atticus published books is
in a letter of 55, in which Cicero told him that he might pro-
ceed with the copying of De Oratore; even this might conceiv-
ably mean only that Atticus made a copy for himself. 124
" iv. 43, 155, 3; 8, 2.
I. 13,5; 14,3; II. 1,3.
120 1. 16, 18; II. i, 3 and u. 121 1. 19, 10; II. i, 2.
122 IV, 2, 2. "3 IV. 8a, 5.
124 IV. 13, 2. In September of 54, Cicero in writing to Quintus said
that any work of his was destined to be known among the very school-
boys, showing that all his work was published (Ad Q. F. III. I, li).
ATTICUS AS MAN OF BUSINESS. 17
For the next decade, there is adequate evidence for Atticus'
publication of contemporary works. In 46, he reviewed and
published the Orator. 125 In May of 45, Cicero sent him two
books of the Academica and one of De Finibus; in June, on
changing the plan of the Academica, he asked to have the first
edition abandoned and a new one begun. 126 In July, Atticus
had three copyists, Pharnaces, Antaeus and Salvius, making a
number of copies of the Pro Ligario; Cicero asked to have the
three instructed as to a correction. 127 In July of 44, Cicero
sent the manuscript of De Gloria, which he asked to have
copied out in handsome style on large sheets ; two weeks later,
he realized that he had sent with it a preface that he had used
in the Academica, and asked Atticus, taking for granted that
by the time his letter reached Atticus from Vibo, the early part
of the work would be done, to dry off the preface from the roll
and glue on another one. 128 In October, he sent the second
Philippic, with the agreement that it should not be published
while Antony's power was unimpaired; in November, he and
Atticus were discussing corrections to be made in the
The only work other than Cicero's which we are certain that
Atticus published is Hirtius' Anti-Cato, the mansucript of
which was sent directly to his copyists by Cicero. 130 Possibly
Brutus' Cato had already been put out by the same establish-
ment. 131 Atticus may have published the recent speech of his
kinsman Quintus Celer which Cicero asked to have forwarded
to him in Asia. 132
The volume of portraits published by Atticus 133 was doubt-
125 XIII. 6; a correction in all copies was entrusted to his slaves.
XIII. 32, 35 13, I.
127 XIII. 44, 3; the correction was not made (Pro Ligario, 33).
XVI. 2, 6; 3, i ; 6, 4.
* 2 XV. 13, i and 7; XVI. xi, i and 2.
XII. 40, i ; 48, i.
131 Atticus reviewed it, sending his criticisms to the author ; Cicero's
comments on the ensuing correspondence may imply that Brutus had "
sent the work to Atticus as a publisher rather than a critic and conse-
quently did not welcome criticism (XII. 21, i).
"2 VI. 3, 10. 133 Pliny, H. N. 35, n.
'18 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
less the work of his own copyists. Proceeding from this as-
sumption, Leo ascribes to Atticus' publishing house such works
as the illustrated manuscripts of Terence and the Vatican illus-
trations of Vergil. 134
Atticus evidently had competitors in the business of publish-
ing. Cicero praised his astuteness in promoting the sale of the
Pro Ligario and promised to entrust all further works to his
auctioning; 135 this does not sound as if Atticus had previously
held a monopoly contract for the publication and sale of Cicero's
works. Moreover, when Cicero discovered that a tentative
edition of De Finibus which was in Atticus' handsl had been
copied by Balbus and that Caerellia had also procured a copy,
doubtless from the same source, he showed in his protest that
there were other places at which his writings might be pub-
lished, and that Atticus' establishment was simply the preferred
one of its class. 136
There is no evidence as to the distribution of profits between
author and publisher. Probably the author got no money ; on
the other hand, he seems to have taken no risks ; when the first
edition of the Academica was condemned, Cicero apparently
assumed that Atticus would bear the loss. 137
Our only measure of Atticus' standards of honor in business
must be taken from Cicero's estimate. While Cicero spent
money freely and had a tendency to run into debt, he had a
strong sense of the elementary business obligations ; he con-
134 Rhein. Mus. 38, 317-347.
XIII. 12, 2.
138 Atticus apologized for this indiscretion, excusing himself on the
ground of the pressure from Balbus, whom he could hardly disoblige ;
Cicero recognized this excuse as valid. About the provenience of
Caerellia's copy, or indeed about the existence of the copy, we know
nothing. XIII. 2ia, i and 2; 22, 3.
137 For the value of a manuscript that Atticus had edited, cf. Pronto,
Ep. i, 7. Naber, p. 20. For identification of Atticus with the Atticus
of Lucian, irpdj rbv dvalSevrov, 2 and 24, and for a theory that Atticus
edited Demosthenes, Isocrates and Plato, using the library of Aristotle
that Sulla brought to Rome, and issuing a text to compete with that
issued in Alexandria, see Usener, Unser Platontext, Gott, Nachr., 1892,
195. For bibliography of the discussion, see Dziatzko, P. W.,
ATTICUS AS MAN OF BUSINESS. 19"
sidered it a disgrace for him not to pay his debts and for other
people not to pay theirs ; he wished not to get the better of the
other side in his business relations and he dreaded the ap-
pearance of doing so. In several cases where he felt that he
was in danger on the latter point, he committed the affair to
Atticus' management, asking that his interests should be sac-
rificed rather than his honor called in question. He assumed
that Atticus* anxiety on this point was at least equal to his
The financial aspect of the lifelong connection between Cicero
and Atticus calls for special mention. Cicero was indebted to
Atticus for long years of business services, some of them
doubtless paid by commission, but many of them representing
a personal sacrifice of time and toil. Atticus was indebted to
Cicero for the reinforcement of his efforts-, in times when his
financial interests were at the mercy of official decisions, by all
the prestige of the consular. 139 However, Atticus' stewardship
of Cicero's affairs was on a business basis. Nepos says that
when Cicero was exiled Atticus gave him 2,500,000 ses-
terces ; 140 this may be true ; it is certainly true that on coming
into his inheritance, Atticus begged Cicero to draw on this for-
tune to any extent and to prefer his assistance to that of any
one else, 141 that at that time and always afterwards, Cicero felt
that if ever his own resources really failed him, Atticus stood
ready to help him, that in 48, when Philogenes' peculations
threatened his credit, he realized that if a legacy had not saved
the situation, Atticus would have done so, 142 that when Tullia's
fortunes were involved by his losses, he committed her to At-
ticus' care. 143 Yet there is abundant evidence in the letters
that, apart from political crises involving utter helplessness,
Cicero did not ask nor avail himself of Atticus' generosity, but
138 V. 8, 2 and 3 ; XII. 19, 4; 21, 3, cui tu es consdus; cf. I. 17, 5.
139 Cf . the Buthrotum affair.
"<M. 4, 4.
i III. 20, 2.
1*2 XI. 2, I ; cf . 24, 3.
i XL 7, 6; 9, 3; 17; 25, 3-
20 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
maintained his financial integrity even when he felt himself
sorely pressed for money.
The letters of 51 furnish direct evidence on Atticus' attitude
towards thost great fields of exploitation, the provinces. His
program for Cicero's administration of Cilicia shows that he
was eager to see these run on a sound business basis. While
Cicero claimed that he had strong convictions on the subject
himself, cherished indeed and professed through many years, 144
and that the practice of the required virtues gave him unex-
ampled pleasure, 145 he still constantly referred to Atticus as
the inspirer and critic of his efforts. 146 It was under Atticus'
advice that he decided not to grant a prefecture to anyone en-
gaged in money lending in the province, a rule observed even
in the face of requests from Pompey and others with a strong
personal claim upon him. 147 Atticus' ideas may be further
drawn from the accounts that Cicero rendered to him: in
travelling through the province, he and all his staff refused,
with a single slight exception, to accept from the provincials
even the provision allowed by the Julian law, itself strict; 148
his administration of the courts was just, serious and merci-
ful ; 149 and the whole system of closet influence was done away
with; 160 Ariobarzanes, the client prince of Cappadocia, was so
protected from the harpies preying upon him and so stimulated
to the payment of his just debts as to become quite a respectable
figure in his kingdom ; 151 no requisitionary letters were sent to
the citizens of the province, no soldiers were billeted, no money
was extorted by the threat of billeting ; the grateful provincials
were allowed to express their enthusiasm only in words, statues
and shrines being forbidden as a drain on their resources. 152
144 Cf. Ad Q. F. I. i, and the orations passim.
i V. g, i ; 20, 6.
146 V. 15, 2; 22,6; VI. i, 8; 2,8.
147 VI. i, 6.
148 V. 16, 3 ; 21, 5 ; etc.
148 V. 20, i.
180 VI. 2, 5.
151 V. 20, 6. '
162 V. 21, 7.
ATTICUS AS MAN OF BUSINESS. 21
After one such enumeration Cicero expressly said, " Endure
my recital of my merits, for it was you that wished me to act
thus." 153 With like confidence in Atticus' satisfaction he wrote
about his treatment of the various foreign elements in the prov-
ince : after the failure of the harvest, by the weight of his
prestige and by his persuasive eloquence, without commands
or threats, he induced the Greeks and Romans who had cor-
nered the market to relax their hold on the grain ; 154 the Greeks
were allowed to have courts of their own under their own laws,
and felt as if they were autonomous; 155 the publicani were
humored and kept within bounds, so as to injure no one; they
were the creditor class, against whom Cicero was struggling to
keep down interest to 12 per cent., but he followed a policy of
compromise that might have been a leaf from Atticus' own
book, pronouncing that debts paid within a certain time should
bear a 12 per cent, interest, while those running on should be
subject to whatever interest was written in the contract; 156 the
Greek magistrates were persuaded by a friendly pressure to
reimburse the state for their peculations of the preceding dec-
ade, thus making possible the payment of taxes long in arrears ;
Cicero anticipated Atticus' pleasure in the deliverance or par-
tial relief of the cities from their crushing weight of debt. 157
Atticus responded enthusiastically to these accounts, showing
an anxious interest in the practicability of such high ideals. 158
The position that Atticus took during this very year in the
Salaminian affair seems to belie these honorable sentiments ;
in his eagerness to see Brutus enabled to collect a debt from
the Salaminians, he^recommended that Cicero should assign a
troop of horse to Brutus' agent, the ruffian who under Appius'
proconsulate had laid siege to the senate of Salamis and starved
five of the members to death. 109 However, Atticus did not
"3 V. 21, 7.
* V. 21, 8.
5 VI. i, 15.
"VI. i, 16.
i" VI. 2, 4 and 5.
8 VII. i, 5; 3. 8.
159 VI. i, 6; 2, 8.
22 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
know the facts ; his information came from Brutus, who was
probably himself ill informed as to the character and proceed-
ings of his middleman, and dependent for his estimate of the
situation on the representations of unscrupulous agents ; he
may have been somewhat ashamed of his 48 per cent, bond
and somewhat ambiguous about it, for when Cicero first wrote
of the Salaminian affair he did not know that Brutus was a
principal in the transaction. Writing on February 24, he put
Atticus in possession of all the facts; there is no indication
that Atticus protested after he learned these. 180
The testimony of these letters gives weight to Nepos' state-
ments about the conduct of Atticus toward the Athenians. He
evidently had a humane interest in the provinces and dependent
cities, as well as the interest of a sound business man in their
prosperity, and believed their salvation to lie in bringing them-
selves or, if the initial steps were too difficult, in being brought
into a condition of financial integrity and responsibility.
160 VI. I ; 2; 3; it is true that Cicero wrote a second letter of protest
against Atticus' request, but it is most unlikely that he had received
from Atticus any answer to his letter of February 24 before writing
VI. 2 in early May or VI. 3 in June. Cicero answered, for example,
on February 24, in Laodicea, a letter from Atticus dated December 29,
and though a letter could cover the longer distance from Rome to
Cybistra in 47 days (V. 19, i), it is likely that letters between Atticus
in Epirus, often removed from the routes of travel, and Cicero in
Cilicia took two months to reach their destination. The internal evi-
dence of the letters makes it practically certain that Cicero had no
answer from Atticus on the subject before writing VI. 2 and 3; if
there had been an intervening letter from Atticus, so long a letter as
VI. 2 would give numerous evidences of it, whereas it gives none.
Contra, Gurlitt, B. P. IV., 1900, 1422, with intent to account for varia-
tions between VI. i, 5, and VI. 2, 7, on the ground that Cicero made
two different propositions. Gurlitt takes Ais Brutum cupere aliquid
perdere as proof that Brutus sent a message through Atticus after the
two had discussed the subject on the basis of Cicero's representations;
the context at this point seems to me especially to preclude the idea of
an exchange of comment on the subject.
ATTICUS AS MAN OF LETTERS.
The father of Atticus was a man of scholarly pursuits and
intellectual associations 1 who considered his son's education a
matter of prime importance. 2
Among the schoolmates of Atticus, Nepos mentions Lucius
Torquatus, Gaius Marius the younger and Marcus Cicero. 8
It is safe to attribute to the education of Atticus a considerable
similarity to that of Cicero, and there are many points at which
the training of the two proves to be identical. The instruction
under schoolmasters included the subjects set forth by Cicero
in De Oratore, music, mathematics, poetry, history, elocution,
debate. 4 A few more specific details may be gathered.
There is no direct evidence that Atticus studied under Stilo,
but as Stilo added to his grammatical, literary and philosoph-
ical studies a strong interest in Roman legal antiquities, 5 the
references made by Cicero in De Legibus to common boyhood
studies in this field, 8 together with the antiquarian interest in
Roman law ascribed to Atticus as interlocutor in the same
book, 7 are strong presumptive evidence that Atticus shared
with Cicero 8 the instruction of Stilo, and that he like Varro
drew from Stilo his interest in Roman antiquities, legal, his-
torical and literary. 9 The boys learned by rote the Twelve
1 A work on civil law was dedicated to him by his friend Junius
(De Leg. III. 49), commonly identified with the Junius Gracchanus of
Pliny, N. H. XXXIII. 35, and by Cichorius with Junius Congus, whom
he considers identical with Gracchanus. Untersuchungen zu LuciUus,
2 Att. I, 2.
*Att. i, 4.
4 1. 187; for a presentation of the evidence on Cicero's education, see
Sihler, Cicero of Arpinum, ch. I.
5 He edited the Axamenta Saliorum and the Twelve Tables.
* II. 9 and 59 ; cf . Brut. 99.
8 Brut. 207.
9 Ibid. 205-207.
24 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
Tables, a practice out of date forty years later. 10 They read
such speeches of Roman statesmen as were extant, even learn-
ing some by heart. In this connection there are mentioned
speeches of Fannius, 11 Curio, 12 Galba, 13 Fimbria. 1 * From
references less definitely assigned to boyhood may be added
those of Cato, Lepidus, Africanus, Carbo, 15 Crassus 16 and
Scaevola 17 This course of reading probably extended beyond
the years of study under Stilo. Besides ancient Roman ora-
tory, the boys studied Greek oratory. Atticus' enthusiasm for
Lysias 18 may go back to this period. Hierocles and Menocles,
models of the late and florid Asiatic school, were also set before
Atticus undoubtedly shared with Cicero, probably under
Stilo's teaching, that enthusiastic study of Ennius, Naevius and
Lucilius which had recently become a feature in education. He
may also have drawn nearer to the drama of the elder day
through conversation with Accius. 20
It was probably in the group of Stilo's pupils that Atticus
showed the superiority in declamation mentioned by Nepos, 21
and doubtless here was formed his lasting preference for the
literature of the Greeks. .
On the evidence of the Brutus, Atticus attended the courts
in his youth to hear the great orators plead. As interlocutor in
that dialogue, he discusses the cultivation, voice, pronunciation,
choice of words and gestures of Titus Flamininus, Catulus,
Cotta, Sisenna 22 and passes judgment from his own impres-
10 De Leg. II. 59.
11 Brut. 99.
12 Ibid. 122.
" Ibid. 129.
16 Ibid. 292 ff.
" Ibid. 164.
18 Ibid. 293.
19 Brut. 325.
20 Suet., De Gram. 2; Brut. 107.
21 Att. 1,3.
22 Brut. 258 ff .
ATTICUS AS MAN OF LETTERS. 25
sions on Crassus and Antony, and, doubtless with the same
basis, on Sulpicius and Caelius. 23 He counted Sisenna among
his personal friends. 24
Like Cicero, Atticus frequented the house of the augur Scae-
vola, 25 who admitted young men to his audiences that they
might build up a knowledge of law from his answers to those
who consulted him. 26 As his attendance on Scaevola was at
least in part contemporaneous with that of Cicero, which began
about 89," we may suppose that he was pursuing the study of
law at nineteen or twenty. It is likely that with Cicero he lis-
tened daily in 88 to the speeches of his kinsman by marriage,
the tribune Sulpicius. 28 f
As the lectures of the philosopher Philo in Rome began
before the end of 88, it is possible that Atticus attended them
with Cicero before leaving Italy for Greece. 29
In Athens, Atticus probably developed at once that enthu-
siasm for the monuments and traditions of the city which
Cicero ascribes to him, 30 and steadily widened his acquaintance
with Greek literature and antiquities. 31 Sulla, who was in
Athens during the winter of 84-83, was charmed with his reci-
tation from the Greek and Latin poets. 32
Sometime before 79, Atticus began to frequent the gardens
of Epicurus, where Phaedrus and Zeno were then lecturing. 33
The Epicureans had at the time small social recognition ; they
had never enjoyed a high repute as men of letters. 34 Phaedrus
was doubtless a man of outstanding ability among them. 35 If
23 Brut. 292 ft.
2 * Brut. 260.
25 De Leg. I. 13.
26 Brut. 306.
27 De Amicitia, l. Brut. 306.
28 Brut. 306.
29 Ibid. Acad. Pr. II. n and 12; cf. Reid's Introduction.
30 De Leg. II. 4; De Fin. V. 4; De Sen. I.
31 Ad Fam. VII. 31, 2; XIII. I, 5.
32 Nep. Att. 4, i.
33 De Leg. I. 21 ; De Fin. V. 3 ; Nat. Dear. I. 21, 59.
3 * Tusc. II. 7 and 8; Ad Fam. XV. 19, 2; In Pis. 70.
35 Nat. Deor. I. 93 ; Phil. V. 13.
26 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
Cicero's early admiration for Phaedrus, tempered later by at-
tendance on the lectures of Philo, 36 grew out of hearing Phae-
drus lecture in Rome, as has been supposed, 37 then it is most
probable that Atticus also heard him in Rome and that the en-
thusiasm then awakened led him to enroll himself among the
Epicureans in Athens.
In 79 there was gathered in Athens a group of five young
Romans, 38 Marcus Cicero, his brother Quintus, his cousin
Lucius, Marcus Pupius Piso and Titus Pomponius, who was
even then so far an Athenian in spirit that Cicero, writing of
the time, said that he was likely to have bestowed on him the
cognomen Atticus. 39 The five attended in the Ptolemaeum the
lectures of Antiochus of Ascalon, the disciple and successor of
Philo in the Academic school. 40 Cicero testifies that his own
attendance on the lectures lasted six months. 41 In De Legibus,
he makes Atticus confess to having been almost led away from
the Epicurean gardens by the teaching of Antiochus, with
whom he formed a warm friendship. 42
Both Atticus and Cicero were initiated into the Eleusinian
mysteries. Atticus is represented in De Legibus* 3 as defend-
ing the mysteries at least as practised at Athens from the
imputations of the writers of comedy, and eliciting from Cicero
a tribute to their spiritual import. In 67, he was consulted by
the poet Thyillus about the customs of the priestly family of
the Eumolpidae. 44
By 67, the second year represented in the extant correspond-
ence, he had become a connoisseur in objects of art. He se-
lected for Cicero's Tusculan villa Megaric seals, 45 herms of
Ad Fam. XIII. 1,2.
37 So, e.g., Tyrrell on Ad Fam. XIII. I, 2.
3" De Fin. V. i.
s De Fin. V. 4.
**De Fin. V. i.
42 I- 54-
43 II. 35-36.
"1.9,2; 16, 15.
45 I. 4, 3-
ATTICUS AS MAN OF LETTERS. 27
Pentelic marble with bronze heads, 46 bas reliefs, 47 embossed
well covers, 48 a Hermathena. 49 He was a student of landscape
gardening and developed his grounds at Buthrotum, preserving
the natural beauty of its streams and plane trees, and dedicating
a part of the gardens to the nymph Amalthea, 50 so as to arouse
the emulation of Cicero, who pressed for instructions as to
how he should make an Amaltheum at Arpinum. 51 He was a
master too in the arrangement of a library ; his system of well-
ordered shelves, probably his own device, 52 and of title cards
attached to the rolls, served both convenience and beauty. 83
In 55, he was called upon to arrange the statues and pictures in
the theatre that Pompey was about to dedicate ; 54 about twenty
years later, Augustus employed him to restore the temple of
Jupiter Feretrius. 55
Atticus had stored in his house on the Quirinal a library
which Cicero used in the composition of his philosophical
works. 58 Doubtless both men's libraries contained the older
Greek classics ; Cicero seems to have drawn upon Atticus espe-
cially for Alexandrian and contemporary writers. The fol-
lowing books are mentioned in the correspondence :
Atticus received from Cicero
TOTro6f(Tia Miseni et Putcolormn (I. 13, 5).
Demetrius Magnes (IV. u, 2).
Cicero received from Atticus
46 I. 8, 2.
47 I. 10, 3.
48 I. 10, 3.
49 I. 4, 3-
50 On the question whether the Amaltheum was a small basilica or
merely a part of the gardens adorned with statues, etc., see O. E.
Schmidt, Neue Jahrb. Ill, 1899, 340 ff. ; Schiche, Z. G. 1904, II. 375,
reviewing a paper of Lorenzina Cesano ; F. G. Moore, Class. Phil. I.
1906, 121 ff. Wernicke, P. W. I. 1723, considers the Amaltheum an
51 1. 16, 18.
52 IV. 8, 2, tua pegmata; so Tyrrell.
63 IV. 43, I J 8, 2.
54 IV. 9, I.
B5 Nep. Att. 20, 4.
56 IV. 14, I ; XV. 27, 2 ; De Fin. II. 67.
28 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
Poems or histories about Amalthea (I. 16, 18).
Serapion on geography (II. 4, i ; 6, i).
Poems of Alexander of Ephesus on geography (II. 20, 6;
Writings of Varro: a work not specified (IV. 14, i) ; a
laudatio (XIII. 48, 2) ; a dialogue (XV. 13, 3).
Demetrius Magnes' On Concord (VIII. n, 7; 12, 6; IX.
Tyrannio's On Accents (XII. 2, 2 ; 6, 2).
Dicaearchus' On the Soul and The Descent (XIII. 31, i ;
Brutus' epitome of Caelius Antipater (XIII. 8).
Panaetius' irepi irpovoias (XIII. 8).
Phaedrus' On the Gods (XIII. 39).
Cotta's historical monograph (XIII. 44, 3).
Cicero discusses with Atticus or refers to
Dicaearchus' On Pallene, Corinth, Athens (II. 2, 2).
Procilius' On Geography (II. 2, 2).
Theophrastus' On Ambition (II. 3, 4).
Eratosthenes, Hipparchus, Tyrannic on geography (II.
Vennonius' Annals (XII. 3, i).
Antisthenes' Cyrus (XII. 383, 2).
Aristotle's letter to Alexander (XII. 40^2).
Theopompus' letter to Alexander (XII. 40, 2).
Varro's 7rc7rXoypa<ia XVI. II, 3.
Annals of Libo and Casca XIII. 44, 3.
Panaetius and Posidonius on Duty XVI. n, 4.
From the nature of the comments it may be concluded that
Atticus also read most of the books on these lists. He was a
diligent reader of Timaeus 57 and of Dicaearchus, whom he
championed in his advocacy of the life of action against Cicero's
favorite Theophrastus, who praised the life of reflection. 58
67 Cicero calls Timaeus tuus familiaris in writing to Atticus, VI. 1, 18.
58 II. 16, 3; VI. 2, 3. The debate was purely academic, as both men
led busy lives and it was Cicero who had chosen the career allowing
ATTICUS AS MAN OF LETTERS. 29
References imply that he was familiar with the politico-philo-
sophical works of Theopompus 59 and Heraclides. 60 His use of
Apollodorus in matters of chronology is stated in the letters, 81
that of Polybius implied. 62
As the references to books in the letters are nearly all con-
nected with Cicero's literary labors, they are limited to philos-
ophy, politics and history. Atticus' own reading seems to have
been especially in the realm of politics and history. 63 Further
evidence on the scope of his historical reading may be gathered
from the dialogues. These imply that he was widely read in
the Greek historians ; Cicero makes him speak with enthusiasm
of Philistius, Thucydides and the orator Lysias, 64 and criticize
Stratocles and Clitarchus for their romantic tendency, citing
the superior authority of Thucydides. 65 Again, he appears as
a reader and critic of the Roman annalists ; Cicero assigns to
him a series of brief comments on these, including Fabius
Pictor, Cato, Piso, Fannius, Vennonius, Caelius Antipater,
Claudius, Asellio, Licinius Macer and Sisenna ; 66 these com-
ments give him opportunity to express his strong preference
for the style of the Greek historians. In De Legibus, he refers
to his reading of augural books. 87
The dialogues give evidence of Atticus' deep enthusiasm for
Plato, whom he upholds against the criticism of the Epicurean
school 68 and whose irony he discusses with keen appreciation. 89
Evidence for the range of Atticus in the field of poetry and
the drama may be found in the quotations that Cicero makes in
59 II. 6, 2.
<XV. 4, 3-
61 XII. 23, 2.
XIII. 30, 2; cf. De Rep. II. 27.
63 E.g., he seems not to have read the works of Posidonius and
Panaetius referred t'o in XVI. n, 4.
64 Brut. 293 f.
65 Brut. 41 ft.
66 De Leg. I. 5 ff.
7 II. 32.
s De Leg. III. I.
69 Brut. 292, 299 ; cf . Hirzel, Untersuchung zv, Ciceros Philosophischen
Schriften II. 367-369.
30 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
the letters, most of them without reference to the author, many
of them so brief as to require a knowledge of the context in
order to catch their implication. Of these quotations eighteen
are from the Iliad and twelve from the Odyssey, in both cases
from the whole range of the poems. There are besides quota-
tions from Hesiod, Stesichorus, Archilochus, Epicharmus, Pin-
dar, three, Aristophanes, Sophocles, at least three, Euripides,
twelve, Strattis, Rhinthon, Menander, Leonidas of Tarentum,
Ennius, four, Lucilius, five, Pacuvius, Atilius, Afranius, Ter-
ence, three. Other quotations in the letters have not been
placed, and there are numerous proverbs both Latin and Greek.
Cicero especially mentions the admiration of Atticus for Sopho-
cles. 70 Atticus seems to have detected the incorrect citation of
Eupolis for Aristophanes in the Orator. 71
Atticus was a lover of learning. Cicero addressed him as the
companion and inspirer of that life of study and philosophic
calm with which he tried to solace himself on his enforced with-
drawal from political life. 72 He ascribes to him in the di-
alogues broad and profound ideas; in De Legibus, Atticus
appreciates and seconds the attempt to reach a philosophical
basis for jurisprudence ; 73 in his disparagement of the Latin
historians it is evidently not only the grand manner of the
Greeks but also their philosophical treatment of the subject
that he misses. 74 At the same time, he was a careful worker
in details ; to his patience and care was entrusted such chrono-
logical and genealogical investigation as Cicero needed in his
The letters show Atticus a purist in speech, passing judg-
70 II. 7, 4-
" XII. 6, 3.
"II. 16,3; 17, i.
73 I. 15, 17-
M De Leg. I. 5 ff .
75 XII. sb; 20, 2; 22, 2; 23, 2; 24, 2; XIII. 30, 2; 32, 3; 4, i; 5, i; 6a;
33, 3J XVI. I3b, 2; VI. 2, 3. Atticus is found in error in VI. I, 18;
XII. sb. Editors comment on the fact that the elliptical question about
Servius Galba (XII. sb) presupposed great familiarity with the subject
on the part of Atticus.
ATTICUS AS MEN OF LETTERS. 31
ment especially on the form of Greek names used in Latin
writing 78 and on the selection of Latin equivalents for Greek
philosophical terms. 77 Occasionally he contested with Cicero
the use of a Latin word or the choice of a cadence. 78 In the
dialogues, his judgment is invoked for approval of the Latin
used in philosophical treatises drawn from the Greek ; 79 in an
encomium on the oratory of Caesar he appears as the champion
of purity, freshness and distinction in speech. 80
Cicero expressed his appreciation of Atticus' style in letter
writing of the realism that reproduced the very shifting of
ideas and of talk 81 and brought Rome before the eyes more
vividly than the living voice of a lively young guest could do, 82
of the graciousness of correction and advice in letters that
were enhanced in value by their length as were the iambics of
Archilochus in the eyes of Aristophanes of Byzantium, 83 of
the distinguished and polished style of others. 84 His most
convincing tribute to Atticus' ability and discretion as a letter
writer was his request that Atticus send letters in his name
whenever he thought it advisable. 85
Cicero employed Atticus as the constant critic of his writ-
ings, usually before their publication. He found his orations
nearer to their Attic models if they were approved by Atticus, 86
whom he counted as his Aristarchus ; 87 even in the last years of
his life he professed to feel uneasy about his work until it had
passed the censorship of Atticus with credit. 88 Brutus also
76 VI. 2, 3; VII. 3, 10.
"XII. 52,3; XVI. 11,4; 14,3.
78XIII.2i,3; XVI. 11,2.
"* De Fin. V. 96.
80 Brut. 252-261.
81 H. 15, i.
82 II. 12, 2; Cf. 12, 4.
S3 XVI. 11,2.
8 * XVI. I3a, I.
ss III. 15,8; 21 ; XI. 5, 3; 7,7; 12,4.
86 I- 13, 5-
8T I. 14, 3; cf. II. I, I, end.
88 XVI. n, I. Atticus' criticisms were concerned with historical ve-
racity and political discretion as well as with style. For a mistake that
escaped his notice, see Gellius, Noct. Att. XV. 6, Ajax for Hector in
32 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
submitted work to Atticus for approval, but seems not to have
welcomed general criticism and perhaps wanted only the veri-
fication of his facts. 89
Much literary work was produced in the circle of Atticus'
friends, no small part of it under his advice and stimulus. At
his dinners there was no other entertainment offered, says
Nepos, than the reading of masterpieces by a well trained
slave. 90 The presentation on such occasions of carefully chosen
excerpts from contemporary work must have served as a
powerful incentive to the author's assembled friends. 91
The speeches of Atticus as interlocutor exhibit him as eager
to have Cicero turn his abilities to the composition of history,
the subject in which he was most interested and in which he
felt most keenly the poverty of Roman production. 92 He
urged historical writing upon Nepos and suggested subjects ;
a monograph on Cato, distinct from that in the Lives, was
written by Nepos at his request. 93 He probably exhorted
Brutus and other friends to the same effect.
In the case of Cicero, however, the letters show that Atticus
recommended writing sometimes as an escape from mental
unrest, chiefly as a substitute for political action when the latter
was- out of the question; the work that he suggested was in
most cases of apolitical sort designed to influence contemporary
thought and to promote Cicero's career or enforce his ideas
when other means to that end were lacking. 94 His enthusiasm
over De Re Publica doubtless arose from its bearing on ques-
t'he second book of De Gloria. For a conjecture as to another error,
rectified in composition but not in publication, see Norden, Aus Ciceros
Werkstatt, Sits. Pr. Ak. 1913, 2-3.
89 XII. 21, i; cf. ch. I. n. 131.
90 Att. 14, i.
"XII. 4, 2; XVI. 2,6.
92 De Leg. I. 5-7.
93 Nep. Vit. 24, 3, 5.
94 The geographical work that he suggested in 59 does not yet show
this tendency, and seems rather a makeshift to distract Cicero ; it was
probably suggested to Atticus by his reading in Dicaearchus. by his prac-
tical interest in topography, or by the previous work of Varro in the
ATTICUS AS MAN OF LETTERS. 33
tions of statesmanship. His suggestions for the historical
background of one political treatise show that he was scrupu-
lous about historical accuracy in dealing with the speakers and
that he had applied imagination to the past, investing its char-
acters with personality. 95
In the last decade of his life, the literary and historical re-
sources of Atticus were drawn upon by Augustus, who is said
in his absences from Rome to have corresponded assiduously
with Atticus, consulting him as an authority on antiquities and
Of the literary monuments with which writers were wont to
compliment their friends, Atticus had his share. Demetrius
Magnes dedicated to him his work On Concord before the out-
break of the Civil War. 97 Cicero introduced him into a num-
ber of his dialogues. In De Legibus, the first draft of which
was probably written in 52, Atticus appears with Marcus and
Quintus Cicero, and has assigned to him some quite lively dis-
course on philosophy and politics together with a critical re-
view of Roman historical writing. In the Brutus, written in
46, in which he appears with the author and Brutus, he crit-
icizes Roman oratory both ancient and contemporary and is
referred to as an authority on chronology. While he is asso-
ciated with Cicero and Varro in the second draft of the Aca-
demica, written in 45, he has practically no share in the di-
alogue in the extant part of this work. 98 He forms one of the
group of five young students in the fifth book of De Finibus,
written in 45, but again he has no considerable share in the
dialogue. Cicero dedicated to him De Senectute and De Ami-
citia, written in 44. Varro dedicated to him his four books De
Vita Popull Romani and his book De Numeris, and made
95 See n. 243.
86 Nep. Att. 20, 1-3.
97 VIII. ii, 7; 12, 6.
XIII. 14, i; 19, 3; 22, i; Ad Fam. IX. 8, i. Hirzel, Der Dialog,
I. 522, conjectures that Atticus may have given in Acad. Post, the expo-
sitions of Epicureanism suggested in Acad. Pr. 19, 79, 80, 82, 101, 106.
"Charisius, Gram. Lot. I. 126 (Keil).
100 Censorinus, De Die Natali, 2.
34 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
him an interlocutor in the second book De Re Rustica, where
he appears among a group of Epirot stock fanners as an au-
thority on sheep rearing and herd dogs. Tyrannio dedicated
to him his book On Accents in 46. 101 Nepos, within a few
years of Atticus' death, dedicated to him his De Illustribus
Viris, departing from precedent in including a biography of
Atticus in the book.
Atticus had some influence in deciding the dedications and
interlocutors of Cicero's works. As early as 54 he urged that
Varro be introduced in a dialogue 102 and renewed the recom-
mendation nine years later with such effect that Cicero worked
over the Academica, which was already in course of publica-
tion, to make Varro a principal speaker and to dedicate the
work to him. 103 He suggested Cotta for the expression of
sceptical thought, but Cicero did not act on this suggestion. 104
It was at Atticus' request that De Finibus was dedicated to
Brutus, 105 and doubtless the admiration of Atticus for Brutus
accounts in part for the great number of Cicero's works dedi-
cated to the young Stoic during the years 46 to 44. 106
The group to which Atticus belonged represented all shades
of philosophical opinion. Torquatus and Saufeius, among his
friends, were exponents of Epicureanism. The nature of
Atticus' attachment to Epicureanism is matter of debate. In
writing to Memmius, Cicero disclaimed for Atticus any strict
adherence to the school, claiming that his friend's studies had
been too liberal to permit such an alignment, and representing
his attachment as personal, a result of his affection for Patro
and his devotion to the memory of Phaedrus. 107 In the di-
alogues, and the letters, he is always quizzical about Atticus'
Epicureanism, sometimes recognizing it as a sort of tag, 108
"i XII. 6, 2.
10 2 IV. 16, 2.
103 XII. 44, 4; XIII. 12, 3; 13, I ; 14, i ; 16, I ; 19, 3 and 5.
10 * XIII. 19, 3.
105 XIII. 12, 3.
io Brutus, Orator, Paradoxa Stoicorum, De Finibus, Tusculanae Dis-
Putationes, De Natura Deorum.
* Ad. Fam. XIII. i, 5.
108 IV. 6, i ; XIV. 20, 5 ; XV. 4, 2.
ATTICUS AS MAN OF LETTERS. 35
sometimes referring to it as a discipleship to Phaedrus; 109 he
takes pleasure in making Atticus, as interlocutor, subscribe to
non-Epicurean doctrines, such as the immanence of the gods, 110
or take issue with his school, as in regard to Plato. 111 He in-
dulges in a skit on the scientific writing of the Epicureans, 112
but he really joins battle with them on the doctrine of self-
interest, which he makes the cardinal point of all their teach-
ing. 113 From the absence of all real controversy between the
friends on this point, 114 as well as from the tributes that Cicero
pays to Atticus' moral enthusiasm, 115 it is clear that he did not
classify Atticus with the confessed hedonists that he counted
as representative of the school.
Yet Atticus himself was doubtless quite serious in his pro-
fession of Epicureanism. The scientific interpretation of the
universe, doing away with the polytheistic idea of divine " in-
terruption and interference " probably appealed to his practical
and rationalistic mind. Unquestionably the teaching of Epi-
curus concerning personal life, with " its strict checks on ambi-
tion, its stern repression of sensual desire, its insistence on the
supreme duty of preserving tranquillity of soul," had com-
manded Atticus' allegiance in his youth and thereafter gov-
erned the whole course of his life. Cicero shows that Atticus'
consistent aloofness from the struggles imposed by ambition
resulted from the adoption of a principle : " I have never felt
that there was a difference between you and me except in our
chosen course of life, in that I am led by ambition if you wish
109 De Leg. I. 53; De Fin. V. 3; cf. Atticus' own expression, si a
Phaedro nostro esses, XVI. 7, 4.
110 De Leg. I. 21, where Atticus' assent is qualified by a jesting pro-
test; in De Leg. II. 32-33, the assent is given probably only to the latter
and more sceptical part of the discussion on the validity of divination.
111 De Leg. III. i ; Brut. 292.
112 II. 3, 2.
113 VII. 2, 4, and the dialogues passim.
"*Cf. XIII. 38, I.
115 I. 17, 5. I recognize and appreciate the nobility, the generosity of
your nature. ... In integrity, in devotion to duty, I count neither
myself nor anyone else superior to you. Cf. XIII. 20, 4, Atticus' de-
fence of a good conscience as against reputation.
36 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
to name it so to the pursuit of a political career, and you by a
different but not less elevated theory of life to an honorable
abstinence from politics." 116
Atticus' Epicureanism was less a matter of dialectic than a
rule of practice. So far as the controversy of the schools was
concerned, he probably had, as Cicero represents, a tolerant
spirit and an open mind.
Inscriptions. Atticus' first literary production of which we
have any knowledge is a series of epigrammatic verses on
Cicero placed in the Amaltheum in 61 or 60 ; 117 there may have
been also verses on other distinguished men. These verses
may be identical with the metrical eulogies which Nepos speaks
of as composed by Atticus and placed under the portraits of
the subjects, setting forth the achievements and magistracies
of these in not more than four or five verses each. 118 To this
identification the objection is made that Cicero's mention of
Thyillus and Archias in connection with Atticus' verses is evi-
dence that the latter were written in Greek, while the presump-
tion is that the metrical eulogies were in Latin. 119
The Imagines. Atticus published a volume of portraits
which may with more probability be identified with the work
mentioned by Nepos, the more so as Varro's volume, spoken
of by Pliny in connection with that of Atticus, was a combina-
tion of portraits and biography. 120
The Memoir. During his stay in Epirus in the winter of
61-60, Atticus composed a Greek memoir on Cicero's consulate,
which he despatched to Cicero at the moment when Cicero was
116 I. 17, 5. For the Epicurean attitude toward the life of ambition,
cf. Lucretius, De Rer. Nat. II. 1-61 ; cf. Nep. Ait. 6, i, which I take to
be an echo of Atticus' own conversation.
J I. 16, 15.
118 Nep. Alt. 18, 5 ; so Drumann, Gesch. Rants V. 87.
119 Moore, Class. Phil. I. 1906, 121 ff.
120 Pliny, N. H. XXXV. 11 ; for theory that Atticus merely published
the Imagines of Varro, see Usener, Unser Platontext, p. 201.
ATTICUS AS MAN OF LETTERS. 37
sending a similar work to him. The only extant comment on
it is Cicero's acknowledgment: "Your style seems to me to
lack smoothness and elegance, yet it has, after all, the merit of
simplicity." 121 Pliny cites Atticus as one of the authorities
that he used for books VII. and XXXIII. of the Natural His-
tory, and it seems likely that the succinct and significant ac-
count of Cicero's consulship in VII. 116-117 and the emphasis
on Cicero's membership in the equestrian class and his services
to the class during his consulate in XXXIII. 34, were drawn
either from the memoir or from a brief summary thereof ap-
pearing in the Annals of Atticus.
Genealogies. According to Nepos, Atticus made family
trees for several Romans of distinguished stock, indicating not
only the names of ancestors but also the magistracies held by
these, with dates. 122
The family tree of the Marcelli was made at the request of a
Claudius Marcellus ; 123 this was doubtless the Gaius Marcellus
who was consul in 50, the brother-in-law of Augustus. 124 At-
ticus' work may have been used by Augustus in his funeral
speech for the son of this Marcellus, which began with praise
of the race. 125
The genealogies of the Fabii and Aemilii were made at the
request of Cornelius Scipio and Fabius Maximus. 126 These
probably formed, as Nepos' statement implies, one elaborate
work, including the Fabii, Aemilii, Scipios and Metelli, for
Fabius Maximus represented the Fabii, the Cornelii and the
Aemilii, and Cornelius Scipio, commonly known as Metellus
Scipio, was the last scion of the Cornelian Scipios and had
121 II. i, i; Nepos mentions this memoir, Alt. 18, 6.
122 Att. 18, 3.
123 Ibid. 18, 4.
124 So Nipperdey, Nepos, ad loc., arguing that Nepos failed to distin-
guish this Marcellus from the other consular Marcelli because at the
time when the genealogy was made he was the only survivor ; this
theory dates the composition between 45 and 40; see Schanz, I. 2, 123.
125 So Miinzer, who compares also Plut. Marcellus 30, Hor. Carm. I.
12, 45, Prop. III. 18, 33, Aeneid VI. 855 ff.
126 Nep. Att. 18, 4.
38 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
been adopted by the Metelli. 1 " Cicero may have drawn upon
this genealogy in Brutus 212; if he used it also in De Dotno
123, delivered in 57, the passage may be taken also as evidence
that Atticus traced maternal as well as paternal ancestors. 128
The genealogy of the Junian family was made at the request
of Marcus Brutus; 129 it was doubtless the ^iXor^ijija. that
Cicero speaks of seeing in the " Parthenon," in which Ahala
and the elder Brutus appeared in the ancestral line. 130
It has been charged that these genealogies padded or falsi-
fied the meager ancient records for the sake of flattering the
subjects with a long tradition of illustrious ancestry, and made
in some instances an unwarranted connection between the con-
temporary scion of a plebeian family and ancient patrician
bearers of the same name. 131 This charge, which involves all
127 Munzer, as cited below, 93-100, where he also supports the as-
sumption that after the elections of 58, Metellus and Fabius employed
Atticus to write up their ancestors, whom they wished to glorify during
their curule aedileship in 57 ; in this case, however, it is strange that
Metellus in his consulate in 52 should have made the mistake of ascrib-
ing a censorship to his greatgrandfather (VI. I, 17).
Bibliographical Note. On the literary work of Atticus and the ques-
tions of chronology and genealogy arising from it, see Mommsen,
Romische Chronologic. 2nd, 145-148, and ch. VIII. ; Matzat, Romische
Chronologic, 1883, 147-150; Seeck, Kalendartafel der Pontifices, 1885,
83-^9; Cichorius, Leipziger Studien, 1887, De Fastis Consularibiis Anti-
quissimis, 249-259 ; Soltau, Romische Chronologic, 1889, 424-429 ; Unger,
Der Glaubwurdigkeit der Capitolinischen Consultafeln, Jahrbuch, 1891 ;
Wachsmuth, Einleitung in das Studium der Alterthums Geschichte, 1895,
142-145, 300-391, 630^535; Munzer, Hermes, 1905, 50-100, Atticus als
Geschichtschreiber ; Peter, Historicorttm Romanorum Reliquiae, 1906,
11.20-29; WahrheitundKunst,ign; Leuze, Die Romische Jahrsdhlung,
1909; Frick, B. P. IV., 1910-1911, Varroniana; Kornemann, Klio, u, Die
Alteste Form der Pontificalannalen; Holzapf el, Klio, 1912, Zu Romische
Chronologic; Schanz, Litteraturgeschichte, under Atticus ; Schon, Pauly-
Wissowa, Fasti, and articles listed in the notes.
128 So Munzer, loc. cjt.
;9 Nep. Alt. 18, 4.
130 XIII. 40, i ; the Junian tree, if referred to here, was made before
the summer of 45. Munzer places it late, saying that Atticus came into
close relation with Brutus only after the civil war, but VI. I, 3, shows
that Atticus' enthusiasm for Brutus antedated Cicero's departure for
his province in 51 ; cf. Ad Fam. III. 4, 2. Drumann is probably right
in supposing that Atticus' friendship with Brutus dates from the latter's
marriage into the family of Clodius in 54. The monograph may be
dated between 54 and 45.
131 So Seeck, MatzaC Cichorius, Wachsmuth, Schon.
ATTICUS AS MAN OF LETTERS. 39
of Atticus' genealogical work, including that in the Annals, is
especially urged against the Junian genealogy. 132 In this very
case, however, it is demonstrable that the tradition connecting
the later Bruti with the consul of 509 dated back several gene-
rations ; it was recognized in the time of Decimus Brutus, con-
sul in 138, in whose honor Accius wrote his tragedy Brutus ; 133
it was publicly cited as a reproach against the dissolute son of
Decimus Brutus by the orator Crassus; 134 by the time of
Atticus it had a prescriptive right which no historian of that
day would have challenged in a genealogical work.
While Atticus can not be credited with originating the con-
nection between his friend and the enemy of kings, it is quite
possible that he influenced the career of Brutus and the course
of history by bringing the connection into new prominence
in the public mind.
As none of the genealogies can be dated with certainty, it is
impossible to say whether they preceded or followed the An-
nals. 5 In either case, it is certain that Atticus in his genea-
logical work had access to valuable unpublished materials that
widened his knowledge of Roman history. Families such as
the Fabii and the Scipios had records of the magistracies of
their ancestors, copies of laws issued during those magistracies,
laudations pronounced at funerals, inscriptions belonging to
their ancestral images. Whether or not the Annales Maximi
had been published, they must have been comparatively dif-
ficult of access, and it may have been in connection with his
genealogical work that Atticus first used them. They certainly
132 E.g., Miinzer, who thinks that XIII. 40, I, and Brutus 62 may be
quips on the elaborate and not strictly historical production.
133 Scholium on Archias XI. 27 (Stangl, 179). It is evident that in
59 the elder Brutus and Servilius Ahala were used as names to conjure
with in revolutionary circles (II. 24, 3).
134 DC Oratore, 225; Cichorius' conjecture that Posidonius, whom
Plutarch (Brutus, i) cites as his authority in tracing the connection,
used the genealogy of Atticus, is therefore superfluous.
185 Schon, loc. cit, conjectures that the genealogies were gifts made
by Atticus in return for the kindness of members of old families who
opened their archives to him to further his studies for the Annals.
40 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
formed a background for his more extensive work, the An-
Atticus had made so careful a study of antiquity, says Nepos,
that he set it forth in its whole course in the volume in which
he listed the magistrates in their order, there was no law, no
treaty of peace, no war, no illustrious act pertaining to Rome
that was not therein noted at its proper time; an element of
the work exacting still more research was the tracing of fam-
ily lines, showing the descendants of the great men of the
Nepos' statement is doubtless exaggerated as to the content
of the Annals, but as to their scope it is well sustained by other
references to them and by such traces 1 of them as may be found.
Cicero gives the following characterizations of the Annals:
The book in which Atticus has included, briefly and ac-
curately, the entire record of history. 138
The book offered me much that was new, and gave me this
practical advantage, which I was in search of, that with the
epochs of the past set in order, I could see everything at a
The orator should acquire knowledge of great events and of
the traditions of the past in chronological order, not only those
of our own state but those also of imperial peoples and illus-
trious kings ; this labor Atticus has lightened for us by his own
labor, since in investigating and recording chronology he has
presented the record of seven hundred years without omitting
any illustrious events. 140
136 Seeck, loc. cit., p. 89, discusses as follows the use of the Annales
Maximi in antiquity: Varro and writers who compiled from him, Cen-
sorinus, Macrobius, Solinus, do not mention the Annales Maximi.
Cicero and Verrius Flaccus are the only writers to show a first-hand
knowledge of them. Quintilian's reference may be traced to Cicero,
those of Festus, the Vergilian commentators and their derivatives to
Flaccus. Both these streams may be traced back to Atticus.
137 Att. 18. 1-2.
ias Brut. 14.
139 Brut. 15.
140 Orator, 120.
ATTICUS AS MAN OF LETTERS. 41
These references add to the account of Nepos the facts that
Atticus limited his work to the period of Roman history and
yet recorded important events in the history of other peoples. 1 * 1
The first must be qualified by the testimony of a scholiast to
the effect that Atticus agreed with Varro in saying that Aeneas
carried his father from burning Troy, but differed about the
Penates, which he said came to Italy from Samothrace ; 142 the
Annals must then have contained, by way of introduction, a
reference to the origin of the Roman race.
By direct testimony, we know that the Annals contained the
following events, with their dates : the founding of Rome, 141
the death or some event late in the life of Coriolanus, 144
the death of Hannibal, 145 the embassy of the philosophers from
Athens in I55; 146 and the following facts, doubtless in connec-
tion with dates : Aeneas saved his father from burning Troy ;
the Penates were brought into Italy from Samothrace ; 147 two
tribunes were chosen at the time of the first secession of the
plebs ; 148 the son of king Antiochus, when a hostage in Rome,
had a house built for him at the public expense. 149 In addi-
tion, we have the testimony of Pliny that Atticus was one of
the sources that he drew upon for the seventh and thirty-third
books of the Natural History. 150 For less direct but yet con-
141 A comparison of De Rep. II. 28, De Or. II. 154, and Brut. 40,
leads Miinzer to the conclusion that the facts on Homer and Lycurgus
were drawn in these three instances from the same source, Timaeus;
that is, that Cicero could not use the Annals for the period antedating
753 ; so Wachsmuth, loc. cit., I. ch. IV. From the fact that the Chro-
nographer of 354 says of the year 49, "Up to this point there were
dictators," Cichorius conjectures that the Annals, which he takes to
be the source of the Chronograph, ended with 49; it seems probable
enough that they ended with the Civil War.
142 Schol. Veron. ad Aen. II. 717; the scholiast does not refer ex-
plicitly to the Annals.
i**Brut. 72; Solinus I. 27.
144 Brut. 41-42.
145 Nep. Hann. 13, I.
" XII. 23, 2.
147 See note 3.
148 Asconius, On Pro Cornelia, p. 60, Stangl.
149 Asconius, On In Pisonem, p. 18, Stangl.
150 See p. 37.
42 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
vincing testimony, we have the evidence of those works of
Cicero that were written after the appearance of the Annals.
It is a reasonable inference that Atticus' work on the Annals
followed the publication of De Re Publica in 51. As inter-
locutor in the Brutus, Atticus says that the De Re Publica had
aroused and stimulated him to a comprehensive presentation
of the facts of Roman history. 151 He read De Re Publica in
Rome in the summer or fall of 51 ; 152 he went to Greece at the
end of the year and was absent from Italy until .September of
50; it is likely that he did not begin work on the Annals until
after his return, as he could not command materials for re-
search outside of Rome. The book must have been finished
before the end of 47, as Cicero seems to have received it at
about the same time as a letter from Brutus 153 which reached
him in mid-September of that year. 154 Probably Atticus' work
was a part of that literary movement which after 48 formed a
refuge for the Pompeians, excluded as they were from political
life. 155 This approximate dating at least shows in what works
of Cicero's traces of the Annals may be looked for. 156
Before the appearance of the Annals Cicero had written De
Oratore, De Re Publica and De Finibus. Of De Re Publica
less than half is extant. De Oratore is rhetorical, De Finibus
philosophical in its interest, so that historical material is not to
be demanded in either. Yet when a comparison is made with
the later works of the same type, it becomes apparent that in
his later writing Cicero developed a pleasure in historical di-
gression not manifest in the earlier works ; these show too an
161 Brut. 19.
2V. 12, 2; VI. i, 8.
183 Brut. ii.
164 The date is a well-founded inference of Schmidt's, Briefwechsel,
32 f . and 230.
155 Compare Cicero's exhortation to Varro in 46 (Ad Fam. IX. 2, 5).
To this period probably belong Brutus' epitomes of Fannius and Caelius.
Unger, loc. cit, comments on Cicero's citation of Cotta, Libo and Casca
(XIII. 44, 3), three Pompeians who had laid down the sword for
156 For this study of material from the Annals in the dialogues, I am
greatly indebted to the article of Miinzer's cited above.
ATTICUS AS MAN OF LETTERS. 43
absence of the dates and synchronisms that appear in the later
works. The writer must have had at hand, in the later period,
a manual which made it easy to place people and events chrono-
logically and to reckon the interval between events. In a few
instances, 167 the dates or facts can be traced directly to the
Annals; in others we can only say that nothing else seems so
probable a cause for the change in Cicero's manner as the pos-
session of the Annals. 158
In De Re Publica, Cicero accepts the Polybian date for the
founding of Rome, 750, and acknowledges Polybius as his au-
thority in chronology ; 159 in the Brutus he uses 753 as the date
of founding, expressly referring to Atticus as his authority in
In De Re Publica 161 De Oratore 1 * 2 and the Tusculan Dispu-
tations, 163 Cicero speaks of the embassy of Athenian philos^
ophers without indicating the date; in the Academica, 16 * in
relating an anecdote from Clitomachus, he dates the embassy
by the consuls of the year and adds the praetor ship, the subse-
quent consulship and the historical monograph of Albinus.
The date of the embassy he learned from the Annals 195 and it
is likely that the facts about Albinus were found there also. 168
" See p. 41.
iss p or bibliography of discussion on individual works see Schanz
and Miinzer. The latter, calling attention to the great difference in
historical material between De Oratore and De Senectute, both with
speakers of an earlier generation, conjectures that De Senectute was
dedicated to Atticus as the return for the Annals promised in Brutus
15, and that its wealth of allusion is a tribute to the value of Atticus'
159 D e R e p f ii. iS; c f. 27, and Dion. Hal. I. 74, 3.
160 Brut. 72; cf. Solinus, I. 27, Romam placet conditam. . . . Pom-
ponio Attico et Marco Tullio Olympiadis sextae anno tertio.
" III. 9.
M *II. I54f.
i 3 IV. 5.
i 4 II. 137.
XII. 23, 2.
166 On learning from Atticus that Aulus Postumus Albinus was one
of Mummius' legates, Cicero promptly placed him as colleague in the
consulship of Lucius Lucullus (XIII. 32, 3), doubtless from the Annals,
which he then had at hand. He must also have known then that
Albinus was the writer of a Greek monograph on Roman, history
44 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
In De Re Publica, 7 Cicero refers to Plato's visit to Archy-
tas of Tarentum ; in De Senectute,* he dates the visit by the
consuls of the year and brings in a reference to the battle of
the Caudine Forks, dating that also by consuls.
In the orations against Verres, Cicero refers to the Cal-
purnian law de repetundis without mentioning the date; 169 in
the Brutus" the law is dated by consuls ; in De Officiis, 171 it
is dated as 1 10 years after the speech of Pontius that is so care-
fully dated in De Senectute. 1
From Cicero's easy manner of reckoning from one event to
another, it may be concluded that the Annals contained dates
at frequent intervals, such as the ten year intervals of the Con-
sular Fasti. 173
A comparison of the sketch of Greek oratory in De Ora-
tore 17 * with that in the Brutus 175 shows in the latter the addi-
tion of Solon, Peisistratus, Kleisthenes, Themistocles and
Kleon, a better arrangement of the later orators and less cer-
tainty about the survival of Pericles' speeches. These new
points are probably drawn from synchronistic notes in the
If these differences between the earlier and the later works
are due to the Annals, it is reasonable to suppose that other his-
torical allusions with a chronological element found in the later
books are drawn from the same source. An analysis of the
(Brut. 81 ; Acad. II. 137), as he rejoiced in finding a legate so well
adapted to a scholarly discussion of politics (XIII. 32, 3; 30, 2) ; his
reiteration of the point indicates that it was a bit of special knowledge ;
it probably came from the Annals, as the writing of a Greek memoir
by a Roman would be of special interest to Atticus. Cicero may have
drawn the notice of Albinus' praetorship from Libo.
167 I. 16.
168 39, 41.
169 III. 195; IV. 56.
170 I. 106.
171 II. 75.
1 III. 39, 41, by the speech of Archytas.
178 Munzer, loc. cit., citing De Sen. 14, and De Am. 96.
174 II. 93-95-
176 II. 26-37.
ATTICUS AS MAN OF LETTERS. 45
material to be found in passages to be referred with more or
less certainty to the Annals is submitted: 176
Important events, Brut. 60.
Campaigns, De Sen. 10.
Battles, De Sen. 10.
Repeated consulships, De Sen. 10, 14, 19.
Censorships, 177 De Sen. 42 ; Brut. 60.
Laws, De Sen. 10 and 14 ; De Am. 96.
Names of advocates or opposers of laws, De Sen. 14 ; De Off.
Speeches, De Sen. 14; De Off. III. 109.
Minor magistracies. 178
Literary notices. 181
Birth of Ennius, Brut. 72.
Birth of Naevius and Plautus, Brut. 60.
176 Compiled from Miinzer's article. Miinzer assumes that where
Cicero digresses from pure pleasure in historical names and dates,
where he easily reckons time between two events, where he shows exact
information on the genealogies or magistracies of distinguished men,
use of the Annals may be predicated. If out of a group of passages
that show signs of interdependence, one contains a point that may
surely be traced to the Annals, he assumes that the material of the
others may be assigned to the same sources ; he does not claim the
validity of proof for the evidence thus offered.
177 Two at least are given, perhaps all. They would be in place be-
cause of their chronological significance.
178 Probably given only incidentally and by reason of special signifi-
cance or biographical interest. There is no complete list of praetors
or tribunes, for Cicero was often at a loss about these after he began
using the Annals (XII. sb ; XVI. isb, 2; XIII. 30, 2; 32, 3).
179 Cf. the citation of Nepos, Hann. 13, i.
iso if Brut. 78 was drawn from Varro, there are no convincing in-
stances. Brutus 77 and 79, however, give genealogical notes showing
special knowledge and probably drawn from filiation in the Annals.
181 The dating of Livius' first play is the result of a critical study
and correction of the testimony of Accius on the subject; as the same
matter is presented by Gellius (Noct. Att. XVII. 21, 42 f.) and ascribed
by him to Varro, the critical study was probably made by Varro and
used by Atticus. The other literary notices showing the use of dida-
scalia were perhaps also the result of Varro's investigations.
46 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
Date of Livius Andronicus' first play, Brut. 72 ; De Sen. 50.
Production of the Thyestes and death of Ennius, Brut. 78.
Synchronisms, 182 De Sen. 39 ff. ; Brut. 39-49; De Am. 42.
The most significant well attested fact about the Annals is
that they departed from the chronology previously accepted,
and published, perhaps for the first time, the chronology of the
so-called Varronian Era, the distinguishing feature of which
was the adoption of 753, instead of the Polybian 750, as the
date of the founding of Rome. 183
Priority in the fixing of this date has been variously ascribed
to Varro and Atticus. So far as extant reference shows it first
appeared in the Annals of Atticus. However, Varro was work-
ing on chronology at this period, 184 and the Julian calendar was
being prepared. 185 Solinus in his Collectanea Rerum Memora-
bilium 6 cites Atticus and Cicero as authorities for the date
753 ; Censorius, in De Die Natali, cites Varro's work De Nu-
meris, and again refers to Varro's system. 187
It is not only in the date for the founding of the city that
Atticus and Varro agree; such scant references as are extant
seem to indicate like reckonings for the duration of the king-
ship and the dating of events. 188 The two must have worked,
182 Except for Plato's visit, these synchronisms are merely approxi-
mate and could have been taken over from Greek writers without
adaptation. Atticus was interested in such synchronisms (Brut. 42 .).
183 Up to the middle of the first century B.C., the Polybian date was
in use; the Chronica of Nepos, adapted from Apollodorus, published
before 54, reckoned from it. Cicero's change to an earlier date and
the substantial harmony of Cicero, Livy and the Capitoline Fasti there-
after, show that some important work must have appeared to modify
the accepted chronology (Mommsen, loc. cit, Matzat, loc. cit).
184 Acad. Post. I. 9.
186 Unger, Matzat and Seeck claim a determining influence for the
investigations of Tarutius ; Leuze shows that all the citations concern-
ing Tarutius imply merely that he calculated constellations for a given
year, the year being probably supplied by someone else ; so also Momm-
sen, loc. cit. Cicero refers to Tarutius' calculations in 51 (De Rep. I.
25, by implication), but without being affected by any conclusions
thereby reached, and again in 44, when he had ascribed the new dating
to Atticus (De Div. II. 08).
188 I. 27.
187 I. 2; 21, 4-7.
188 Miinzer, loc. cit.
ATTICUS AS MAN OF LETTERS. 47
either independently or together, over the discrepancies of the
traditional chronology, assembling the evidence afforded by
the existing annals and fasti, the tradition of the founding of
the Capitoline temple, the records drawn from the cloves, and
the Greek synchronisms, agreeing finally upon a method of re-
ducing the material to a system. The personal and literary
friendship between the two, together with the absence from the
letters of any reference to controversy, makes ft probable that
they did some work in common. It is likely that Varro, with
his wide antiquarian range and his less diversified occupation,
took the lead, and that Atticus was the first publisher. 189
For some years before he began work on the Annals, Atticus
had felt that there was an obligation upon Romans to con-
tribute to the writing of history. Rome was increasingly con-
scious of a great destiny, and consequently increasingly moved
to recall her own past ; such consciousness of race was prob-
ably increased in Atticus by his years of foreign residence and
of contact with a race to a high degree conscious of its own
history. Passages in the letters and the dialogues serve to
show what conception of history and of the use of sources At-
ticus brought to his work as an analyst. As to the standards
that he set for investigation, we have mis meticulous criticism
of Cicero's work, 190 his painstaking research in preparation for
the dialogues. The criticism of the early analysts in De Legibus
is rhetorical rather than historical, perhaps Ciceronian rather
than Attican. 101 In the Brutus, however, Atticus criticizes
with pleasant irony that system of fabrication by which a great
man's story was given a romantic turn, or the fate of an ancient
189 Mommsen, Soltau and Matzat assumed that Atticus fixed the date
and that Varro adopted his conclusions in the work De Gente Populi
Rotnani, published not earlier than 43; Sanders, A. J. P., 1902, 308.,
called attention to Acad. Post. I. 9, showing that Varro had worked on
chronology before that time ; the point has been developed by Leuze
and Frick. Leuze assumes the priority of Varro. Frick argues uncon-
vincingly for Atticus. The conclusion given above is that of Holzapfel,
VI. 1,8, etc.
191 1. 5 ff. ; cf . p. 26.
48 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
Roman made to match that of an ancient Greek. 102 As Atticus
was Cicero's authority in matters of chronology, it is fair to
refer to his influence a passage like Brutus 16, in which Cicero
bewails the duplicated consulships and fictitious triumphs that
had crept into the historical lists. He refers to Atticus as a
most scrupulous authority on Roman history. 193 At the begin-
ning of De Legibus, in the dialogue on Harms' oak tree, he
seems to satirize in his friend a too great literalness, an ex-
cessive devotion to fact.
We should infer from this testimony that Atticus worked
with the object of handing down a pure tradition and straight-
ening out confusions. On the other hand, it was his purpose
to present a systematic and complete record; if his sources
were confused and contradictory, he had to make choices or
combinations; if they were defective, he had either to leave
gaps or to fill them in with the conjecture offering most prob-
While Atticus represented a protest against the romantic and
moralizing tendencies that had been operating for more than
a generation to turn history into fiction, and while, like Varro,
he strove to restore a pure and sound tradition by working
upon such antiquities as survived in his day, he was probably
more susceptible than Varro to the personal element in the his-
torical interests of his own generation ; among men who had
lived through the civil wars, a new significance was attached to
192 42 ff. At ille ridens, ' Tuo, vero,' inquit, ' arbitratu ; quoniam
quidem concessum est rhetoribus ementiri in historiis, ut aliquid dicere
possint argutius ; . . . hanc enim mortem rhetorice et tragice ornare
potuerunt, ilia mors volgaris nullam praebebat materiem ad ornandum.
....'' Sit sane,' inquam, ' ut libet, de isto ; et ego cautius posthac
historiam attingam te audiente, quern rerum Romanarum auctorem
laudare possum religiosissimum.'
193 Brut. 44.
> 194 Soltau (W. K. P., 1910, 526-534) and Schwarz (Pauly-Wissowa,
Diodorus) ascribe the fabrication of the dictator years to an older tra-
dition ; Niese, to Varro and Atticus ; Leuze contends that the dictator
years did not appear in chronology before the time of Varro and At-
ticus. but that these scholars, finding the records defective, merely left
gaps which were filled in with the dictatorships by less learned or less
ATTICUS AS MAN OF LETTERS. 49
the individual career; the class consciousness of the nobles
grew with the growth of the powers that defied them, and led
them to emphasize the claims of the antiquity and the illustrious
services of their families. Atticus responded to the resulting
demand for the conservation of the personal and hereditary
element in Roman history by his work on genealogy, filiation
and magistracies. In this field he must again have met con-
fusions, contradictions, and double versions. As to his method
of settling them, there is no conclusive evidence. 195
The last extant citation made from the Annals by name oc-
curs in Asconius. They had perhaps disappeared by the time
of Suetonius, who refers to Atticus not as an author but as the
correspondent of Cicero. 196 Evidences of the use of the book
may be traced with more or less certainty for a few genera-
tions after its publication.
Cichorius and Matzat have revived in this generation the
conjecture 107 that the Annals of Atticus were the source of the
Capitoline Fasti, which were carved upon the marble wall of
the Regia between 36 and 30 B.C. Cichorius cites the follow-
ing features as common to the Annals and the Fasti :
Names of dictators, magistri equitum and censors included as
well as names of consuls ; praetors and tribunes omitted.
Cognomina given, sometimes two or three.
Notes on rise of acquired cognomina.
Mention of events, e. g., wars.
Dates ab urbe condita every ten years.
Date of founding of Rome, 753.
It is dear that one purpose of the Fasti was to establish a
chronology, 198 and this chronology seems consonant with that
195 Cichorius remarks, Neque tamen malo dolo fecisse putandus est
redactor, sed bona fide ut utriusque memoriae haberet rationem gemi-
nata cognomina effecit.
198 De Grammaticis 16 ; Tiberius 7 ; so Schanz ; however Pliny, who
cited Atticus as an authority, refers to him merely as Atticus ille
Ciceronis (H. N. XXXV. 11).
197 Advanced earlier by Pighe and Voss.
198 So Schon and Wachsmuth.
50 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
of Atticus. However, too many of the conclusions about the
contents of the Annals are conjectural to permit the founding
of a further conclusion upon them. 189
It is suggested that the chronological and genealogical work
of Atticus and Varro may have been transmitted to Livy
through Tubero, one of their circle. 200
The special knowledge of chronology and history shown by
Verrius Flaccus may be traced to Atticus. 201 Flaccus is sup-
posed to be the author of the Fasti Triumphorum, 202 and is
known to have published a calendar. It is probable that the
library of Atticus was inherited by his daughter and hence was
accessible to Flaccus, who was the tutor of Caecilia's grand-
Efforts have been made to trace influences from Atticus in
the work of Velleius Paterculus. 204 Pernice, 205 following the
work of Kritz, listed a number of genealogical notices 206 and
some bits of special information 207 which may have been drawn
from the genealogies of Atticus. Hirschfeld 208 would like to
trace to Atticus a passage in which Velleius defends the con-
199 Matzat' remarks that of the list of contents given for the Annals
by Nepos, only two, leges and paces, are wanting in the Capitoline
Fasti. Peter (Hist. Rom. Rel.) reserves judgment on the derivation
of the Fasti from the Annals of Atticus.
200 Soltau, Neue Jahrb., 1897, 415-417.
201 Seeck, Kalendertafel, 88 ff.
202 Seeck, loc. cit. 92 ; Schon, loc. cit.
203 jhe library doubtless passed through the hands of Agrippa's heirs
into the imperial library, where Seneca had access to the letters (Seeck).
204 Sauppe, Schweizerisches Museum, 1837, 133-181, does not mention
Atticus as a source used by Velleius, but refers to Atticus' genealogical
work as developing in history the personal note that was overworked
205 D e M. V. P. Fide Historica Commentatio, Leipsic, 1862. Kaiser,
De fontibus V. P., 1884, cited by Maurenbrecher, C. Sallusti Crispi
Historiarum Reliquiae, 1901, 12, decides that Velleius used Atticus for
the republican period up to II. 48. Maurenbrecher agrees, but thinks
that Livy was also used. For bibliography, see Maurenbrecher and
Hirschfeld, Kleine Schriften.
206 II. i, 4; 2, i ; 3, i ; 8, 2; 10, 2, 3; 16, 2; 17, 2; 21, 5; 29, 2; 41, 2;
207 II. 5, i, 2; 8, i.
208 Kleine Schriften, 778-779.
ATTICUS AS MAN OF LETTERS. 51
duct of the Romans in Athens at the time when the city was
besieged by Sulla. 209 It is conceivable that the affection of At-
ticus for his adopted city and his desire to promote a good
understanding between Athens and Rome moved him to insert
such a passage in the Annals.
The question arises how a work so convenient and so val-
uable as Atticus' handbook fell so soon into oblivion, and that
too without having stimulated the production of others of its
kind. Peter answers it by saying that the rapid rise of Rome
to world dominion so widened the scope of historical interest
as to withdraw attention from a book of so narrow a range. 210
It may be added that Roman history so soon fulfilled the hopes
of Atticus by taking its place as a literary form that in the midst
of stylistic interests, imitations and rivalries, a meager and un-
adorned work like the Annals might easily fail of appreciation.
209 II. 23. Schoene, Die Elogien des Augustus jorum und der liber
de viris illustribus, 1895, cited by Schanz under Aurelius Victor, con-
jectures that Augustus employed Atticus for the composition of the
elogia inscribed under the statues that he placed in the Forum, and that
47 chapters of De Viris Illustribus may be traced to this source. The
source of this work, however, is a matter of much controversy, and
Schon is not supported in tracing it to Atticus. See Schanz, loc. cit.
See also Schanz, Atticus, for Hirschfeld's suggestion of traces of At-
ticus in Florus.
210 Wahrheit und Kunst.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS.
Atticus was born to equestrian rank and never rose to a
higher station. The corruption and violence of the political
world of his youth made him decide that it was the part of dig-
nity and prudence to turn away from that path of advance-
ment. 1 The choice may have been instinctive, based on a con-
sciousness of his own strength and weakness, but it was doubt-
less reinforced by his study of the teachings of Epicurus. 2 It
by no means involved indifference to the fortunes of his coun-
try, nor did it preclude a lively interest in the political career of
He must have listened daily, as Cicero did in 88, to the
public speeches of Sulpicius, whose fortunes were the more in-
teresting to him because of a family connection. 3 Because of
this connection, the tribune's fall caused him alarm as well as
sorrow, and probably was, as Nepos implies, the strongest
factor in his decision to leave Italy. 4
In Athens, he refused the citizenship offered to him but was
none the less energetic in facing the financial and administrative
problems of the city, making himself by his services an inval-
uable member of the community. 5
On his return from the East by way of Athens, Sulla saw in
the cultivated and courteous young knight a desirable adherent
and pressed him to return to Rome. Atticus, not dazzled by
the invitation, begged that he should not be forced to align him-
self against his friends of the anti-Sullan party, pleading that
1 1. 17, 5; Nepos, 6; Boissier is wrong in pronouncing this choice a
defection from patriotic duty. Cicero uses the same word for the
political position of the knights in general as for that of Atticus, otium,
Pro. Rab. Post. 7, 16.
2 See p. 35.
3 Brut. 306.
*Att. 2, 2.
6 Nep. Ait. 2 and 3.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 53
he had left Rome to avoid joining those very friends against
Sulla. His excuses were amiably accepted, and he was loaded
with gifts on Sulla's departure. 6
During his long residence abroad, Atticus kept up an inti-
mate connection with men and affairs in Rome. He probably
returned regularly for the census, in order to keep his status
as a citizen. 7 The fact that after twenty years of foreign resi-
dence he was urged and expected to come to Rome to assist his
friends in their canvasses for office shows that he had retained
his position as a prominent member of the equestrian order
and that through personal ties and business interests he had
maintained a sphere of influence. 8 Besides his visits to Rome,
his residence in Athens gave him opportunities for making or
renewing friendships with Romans ; the knights with financial
interests in Asia, the provincial governors with their quaestors,
prefects, secretaries, the army officers quartered in the eastern
provinces, must have kept up a stream of travel through the
Aegean. Well adapted as Atticus was by temperament, expe-
rience and enthusiasm to serve as guide and host in Athens and
as adviser to those embarking on financial ventures in the East,
he must have been sought out by many of those who went
through Athens on their journey. 9
" My candidacy for the consulship, which I know is a matter
of supreme interest to you," Cicero wrote in a letter of 65. l
He was justified in the assumption; it was probably this in-
terest that restored Atticus to Rome as a resident citizen. At-
ticus maintained this interest throughout Cicero's life, acting as
counsellor at every point and finding in his friend's activity an
expression for his own political ideas. It is almost entirely
6 Nep. Att. 4, I and 2.
7 Cf. I. 18, 8; II. i, ii.
8 I. 10, 6; 4, 1 5 Nep. Att. 4, 3-5-
Cf. I. i, 2.
10 I. i. i.
54 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
through his exchange of ideas with Cicero that his life as a
citizen must be studied.
Cicero hoped to have in his political career the support of the
equites, Atticus' class and his own. He stood for the consulate
at a time when the equites were conscious of power and had
heavy interests lying under the arbitrament of the government.
Their policy centered in the support of Pompey, who had
proved himself a complacent friend ; he had been instrumental
in restoring the juries to them in 70, and in reinstating in the
province of Asia essential features of that Gracchan system of
taxation which had proved so profitable to them before the re-
forms of Sulla j 11 he was at this time engaged in a war which
they hoped would as it actually did add Syria to the Roman
provinces and open there a similar field for investment. Cicero
had made himself their spokesman in support of the democratic
movement for the appointment of Pompey to the command in
this war. Since that time, the democratic party had begun to
show elements of radicalism and sedition that tended to estrange
the equites, and Cicero with them. The class formed a middle
party between optimates and democrats, holding the balance of
power. The critical question for Cicero was whether he was
able really to lead them, or whether his policy would prevail
with them only so far as they thought it in harmony with their
With this class Atticus was identified, but not in an exclusive
or narrowly partisan spirit. During his candidacy, Cicero
asked him to exert his influence among those who were travel-
ling between Italy and the East in connection with Pompey's
campaigns. 12 These were probably for the most part members
of his own class, but it was with his friends among the opti-
mates that Cicero wanted him to work when he urged him to
come to Rome for the year 64. 13 Atticus' personal friendships
among the nobles accordingly date back to the time of his resi-
11 Frank, Roman Imperialism, 311.
12 1. I, 2.
18 1. 2, 2.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 55
dence in Greece, some of them, perhaps, to his school days.
There is record of his intimacy with Hortensius 14 and with the
Claudian family, 15 there are traces of friendship with the Lu-
culli, and it is inherently probable that these great connoisseurs
in literature and the arts valued his learning and his fine dis-
As Cicero, writing of his consulate in the years immediately
following, ascribed to Atticus a large share in the framing and
upholding of his policies, 17 the developments of the consulate
ought to throw light on Atticus' political tendencies. These
developments were not so much the outcome of a constructive
policy as a reaction to events. The revolutionary elements in
the democratic party came increasingly to the fore during the
course of the year, which was inaugurated with the agrarian
bill of Rullus, in Cicero's eyes nothing else than a measure of
spoliation, and closed with Catiline's abortive attempt at mas-
sacre and proscription. Cicero, who had hoped to keep on
friendly terms with all parties, was forced by the end of the
year to rely upon a coalition of senators and equites for the
defense of the government. It cannot be doubted that Atticus,
whose dread of disorder and violence had in his youth driven
him to expatriation, was profoundly influenced by these reve-
lations, presented in the first years of his political life in Rome,
of the destructive tendencies inherent in the democratic party.
Whatever his attitude to that party may have been before 63,
he regarded it afterwards with deep distrust. As interlocutor
in De Legibus, he gives a scarcely qualified assent to Quintus'
diatribe against the tribunate and professes a lifelong dislike
for all popular movements ; 18 these words doubtless expressed
his true sentiments.
14 Nep. Att. 5, 5 ; II. 25, i ; V. 2, i ; 9, 2.
15 II. 7, 2; 9, i and 3 ; II. 22, 4 and 5.
16 L. Lucullus was a friend of Caecilius (Nep. Att. 5 ; Vol. Max.
VII. 8, 5) ; he is mentioned in De Legibus as a friend of the interlocu-
tors. For M. Lucullus, cf. I. 19, 10.
17 I. 17, 6 and 10; 18, i.
18 III. 26 and 37.
56 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
The events that estranged Cicero from the democracy ce-
mented more closely his connection with his own class. It may
be demonstrated that neither Cicero nor Atticus contemplated
such a policy of leadership as would secure the devotion of the
equites by unscrupulous class legislation, 19 and if the field had
been open for an aggressive policy on the part of that class, the
year might have estranged them from their consular represen-
tative. As it was, he was brought to look upon them as the
upholders of government and they upon him as the defender of
property; 20 under his leadership, they broke completely with
the democracy and formed with the senate the union known as
In the formation of the concordia Atticus undoubtedly played
an important part ; his warm friendships and his business con-
nections among both the component elements must have given
him great influence in promoting harmony; his long absence
from Rome and consequent aloofness from the quarrels that
had divided the two orders further qualified him for media-
tion, while his natural tendency to compromise and conciliation
inevitably disposed him to enthusiasm for a movement to unite
the two social classes that bounded his sympathy and his in-
terests. Cicero pictures him as standing on the slope of the
Capitoline on that memorable Nones of December, " the stand-
ard-bearer of the equites" 21 It seems to have been the only
occasion in his life when his political feelings developed heat
enough to produce a public demonstration ; it was probably the
only opportunity ever afforded him to support with some pros-
pect of success a cause in which he thoroughly believed.
Thenceforth the political life of Atticus was destined to be a
fruitless opposition, so that it is interesting to inquire what his
program was at this period when he held a real leadership in
his party. Combining the evidence of 63 and 62 with that of
19 Cf. II. i, 7 and 8.
20 1. 19, 4; II. i, 8 and n ; Ad Fam. V. 6, 2; Ad Q. F. I. i, 6; cf.
Pliny, H. N. XXXIII. 34-
21 II. i, 7-
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 57
51, a year in which he again had occasion to express positive
ideas, 22 we should conclude that his governmental ideals had
to do with sound administration rather than with constructive
reform. He believed in just administration, in legislation pro-
moting commerce without arousing class antagonism by fa-
voritism, in the cultivation of contentment and a spirit of peace
among all classes. In his leadership of the equites, he doubt-
less urged a policy of moderate demands, efficient public serv-
ice, honest gains. On the other hand, his distrust of demo-
cratic tendencies cut him off from investigating the causes of
discontent and from considering methods of economic reform ;
we have no evidence as to how he was affected by the misery
of the poor in Rome, but we know that on grounds both of
humanity and of sound business he deprecated the unhappy
condition of the provinces. His program for amelioration,
however, was limited to a correction of abuses under the ex-
isting system. He believed that much could be done for the
ailing members of the body politic by teaching them and ap-
plying to them honest and vigorous business methods. He
went no further.
Atticus believed in the right of private property and in the
duty of the government to defend that right. Doubtless to him
as to Cicero, schemes for the relief of debtors that were based
on repudiation, schemes for the relief of poverty that were
based on confiscation or heavy taxation, seemed immoral and
subversive of the ends of government. 23 His adherence to this
economic position made him a conservative and a defender of
the existing system.
For a statement of the political theory to which Cicero and
Atticus had now committed themselves, with its attendant ad-
vantages, we may quote Cicero's summary of a speech that he
made in the senate in February of 61 : " The authority of the
senate, harmony with the equites, cordial support from Italy,
22 See end of ch. i.
23 For a statement of this position, see De Officiis, II. 72-85.
58 TITUS POMPOtflUS ATTICUS.
the suppression of anarchy, low prices, peace such was the
substance of my thunderings." 2 *
To Atticus' political and patriotic interests 25 we owe the in-
formation on political subjects that rilled Cicero's letters to
him. The letters are especially rich in discussion for the period
of Atticus' long absence in 61 and 60, when the friends still
hoped for the perpetuation of the concordia and analyzed ac-
cordingly every influence that became manifest in the field of
The burning question was how Pompey, the erstwhile cham-
pion of democrats and equites, would face the new alignment
of parties on his return. Both Cicero and Atticus were looking
eagerly for the TroAmicos avjp, the genuine statesman. 26 Atticus
seems to have been sceptical from the beginning. Before the
end of January, 61, he expressed his opinion that Pompey had
given public approval to Cicero's consulate only after realizing
that unfavorable criticism would be impolitic. 27 Cicero's own
impression was disappointing ; he found the great general feel-
ing his way, timid about espousing any cause, slow and secre-
tive in forming plans, unwilling to pronounce upon measures
taken in his absence. 28 Cicero was not, of course, Atticus' only
informant on affairs at Rome, and often assumed that Atticus
had earlier news than that in his letters. 29 At any rate, by the
end of the year, Atticus seems to have made up his mind not to
put his trust in Pompey. Cicero had written to him in July
that there was, to all appearance, a close alliance between him-
self and Pompey, implying that it went no farther, on his part,
'than the producing of an effect on the public; 30 he showed in
this letter his despair of an effective championship of the con-
cordial We do not know Atticus' answer, but when, in De-
24 1. 14, 4. For Atticus' devotion to the concordia, see De Leg. Ill, 37.
26 I. 16,7; 19, I.
28 1. 18, 6.
27 1: 13, 4.
28 1. 13,4-
I. 12, 3; 16,4; 17, 8; II. 19, 5.
80 1. 16, ii.
81 1. 16, 6.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 59
cember, Cicero confessed to a real approximation toward Pom-
pey for the sake of security, he added, "I anticipate your
warning and I shall guard against the dangers involved." 32 He
received the expected protest at the end of May, 60, in a letter
that Atticus wrote on February 15 : "As to affairs of state, you
write at once like a friend and like a wise counsellor. My own
chosen course is not at variance with your recommendations.
It is true that I ought to maintain the dignity of my own posi-
tion, that I ought not to entrust my honor and safety to an-
other's hands, and that he of whom you write has no adequate
and elevated policy, and is of a temper to receive orders and to
bid for popular approval." He defended his closer relation
with Pompey on the ground that he exerted the greater influ-
ence and did more than Pompey to stamp their joint policy,
thus benefiting the state by elevating Pompey toward his own
level. 33 He had already, in a letter of March 15, advanced the
plea that his union with Pompey was determined by patriotic
motives. 34 We do not know what effect this plea had upon
Atticus, for when Cicero wrote to the same effect in June, he
was answering a letter written before even the letter of March
15 was received. 35
During the spring of 60 there is indicated for the first time
in the letters a quotation from Euripides that Atticus used a
number of times in charging Cicero not to forsake his peculiar
post in the State "Zirdprav eXa^es, ravrav Ko<r/m. Whether or
not Atticus' conception of this peculiar province changed with
the years, the quotation always indicates his conviction that
Cicero had public obligations from which he had no right to
withdraw. In this case the " Sparta " in question seems to be
the supporters of the concordia, senators and equites both.
Cicero wrote, " As to my comrades in the good cause, of whom
82 1. 17, 10.
83 1. 20, 2; cf. II. I, 6.
84 1. 19, 7.
35 II, I, 6. When Atticus last wrote, Cossinius, bearer of the March
letter, had not yet reached him (I. 19, 10 and 15; II. i, i).
60 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
you remind me, and that political sphere which you say is my
province, be assured that I shall never abandon them; nay,
further, that if they fall away from me, my convictions and
purposes will still remain unchanged." 36
The truth is that Atticus was giving advice from a distance,
and that Cicero was at some pains to make him realize how
changed were the possibilities of the situation a situation the
essential instability of which he had grasped but slowly him-
self. In July of 61, writing of "that political status effected
by the combination of all the better elements in the state " as
already fallen, perhaps irretrievably, he attributed this break-
down of effective government to the Clodian trial, that is, to
the forces of disorder and corruption; 87 but by December, at
least, he began to apprehend an element of disruption within
the optimate party. There was a small senatorial group of a
virtue too severe to tolerate the frankly acquisitive tendencies
of the equites. Cicero was himself disgusted with the impu-
dence of his order, their demand for impunity in political cor-
ruption, their clamor to be released from an unlucky tax con-
tract ; yet he felt himself bound to further demands of which
he disapproved rather than disregard the mutterings of discon-
tent that he detected among the equites, and to exert all his elo-
quence in the senate on their behalf. "Thus I do my best to
save our chosen policy from ruin, and defend, as best I can,
the union that I brought into being." But his sympathy was
with the champions of morality : " our hero Cato " thus he
spoke of their leading spirit, and up to this point he showed no
irritation at their disregard of expediency. 38 In February of
60, however, when describing that disorganization of which he
grew more and more sensible, he named among the causes the
abortive efforts of the senate to put through legislation against
bribery and judicial corruption, leaving the senate irritated and
the equites estranged. In placing responsibility for the state of
38 1. 20, 3.
37 1. 16, 6.
88 I. 17, 9 and 10.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 61
affairs, he reviewed the leaders, scoring the pompous silence of
Pompey, the contemptible facility of Crassus, and then show-
ing for the first time a profound discontent with the optimate
party. " You know the others, the muddleheads who think that
their fishponds may be safe even after the state has fallen.
There is but one who has the public weal at heart, and he, I
am inclined to think, is contributing to the cause more character
than brains, more loyalty than discretion ; he has been keeping
the poor tax farmers, who were devoted to him, on the rack
for three months." 39
Atticus must have received this letter before sending the one
that Cicero received on June I, but we find him in that letter
reluctant to accept Cicero's view of the case or to endorse his
handling of it. He evidently pleaded with Cicero to maintain
the policy and alliances that he had held before Pompey's re-
turn, and especially to remain in cooperation with Cato. Cicero
again protested the impossibility of such steadfastness where
all was in flux, and again pleaded for his policy of compromise.
" Even if I had no enemies, if all supported me who ought to
do so, even then the use of remedial rather than surgical treat-
ment for the body politic would be commendable ; but with the
equites alienated from the senate, with our nobles feeling that
happiness is attained when the bearded mullets in their fish-
ponds will feed from their hands, and indifferent to all else, do
not I seem to you to render a real service if I blunt the will to
harm in those who have the power ? Your love for Cato is not
greater than mine ; but it must be confessed that with the most
admirable intentions and the most unswerving fidelity he often
does the commonwealth harm. He talks as if he were in the
Republic of Plato rather than in these dregs of Romulus' city.
What more proper than that the receiver of bribes should be
prosecuted? So Cato proposed, and the senate followed his
lead. The consequence is war of the equites with the senate
not with me; I voted to the contrary. What more shameless
8 I. 18.
62 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
than the tax farmers' repudiation of their contract? But we
ought to have suffered the loss of money rather than lose the
equites. Cato opposed concessions and carried his point. As a
result, with one consul in prison, in the face of uprisings, we
are utterly unsupported by the men whose assistance I and my
successors employed in the defense of the state. 'Well,' you
will say, ' are we to hire them with pay ? ' What are we to do,
if we cannot secure them otherwise? Are we to place ourselves
under the heel of our f reedmen of our slaves ? ' 40
By the middle of the year Atticus must have known the his-
tory of the agrarian bill that Pompey and Caesar were trying
to put through how Cicero, realizing the futility of attempt-
ing to flout its powerful backers, had worked out a compromise
that removed such features as threatened the peace of Italy,
and how the senate had rejected his leadership and in their
distrust of Pompey had refused to consider any agrarian bill
of any sort. 41
In spite of all these reasons for changing his position, the
indications are that Atticus held his ground. Judging by the
manner of his correspondence as a whole, we may say with
certainty that Cicero wrote the second of his December letters
with the confidence of Atticus' approval. In it he names the
courses open to him with regard to a new agrarian law a
manful resistance, difficult, dangerous, but honorable; a tacit
consent, which meant nothing else than a retirement from pub-
lic lif e ; a cordial support, which Caesar was cleverly taking for
granted. He pictures the flattering prospect held out to him
a close alliance with Pompey, with Caesar, too, if he liked,
reconciliation with old enemies, immunity from attacks of the
democracy, an easy old age then puts it from him, quoting
from his poem on his consulate the passage in which Calliope
admonished him to hold steadfastly by the policy of that glor-
ious year. The absence of deprecation and apology in the
40 II. i, 7 and 8; cf. 10, with n. 43, ch. i. Cf. the attitude ascribed to
Atticus in De Leg. III. 26 and 37.
41 1- 19, 4-
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 63
letter makes it certain that Calliope voiced the sentiments of
While the advice of Atticus was that of an absentee, so that
it must not be judged by the same standard as if he had been
face to face with the facts, it is valuable evidence on his civic
ideas and standards. His attitude toward government is re-
vealed as a matter of sentiment rather than of practical politics ;
his point of view was not that of a money lender operating in
the great web of trade and centering his interests therein.
When a breach was threatened in the concordia, his sympathy
was not with his own class. This may have been due partly to
personal predilections: his natural preference for distinction
attached him to the sphere of old traditions' and high breed-
ing; 43 besides, he was a man of strong enthusiasms, and could
not readily yield in his admiration for either Cicero or Cato,
nor see without sorrow a breach between them. The deciding
factor, however, was his type of patriotism a reverence for
and idealization of the old aristocratic tradition in government,
the conception of a governing class distinguished for personal
honor. It was partly his fastidiousness on the point of honor
that had kept him from going into political life as a young
man, 44 and his lack of experience had enabled him to carry into
middle age the ideals of his youth. Cato's impractical opposi-
tion pleased him more than Cicero's well directed opportunism.
At the end of 60, Atticus returned to Rome and probably
acquired a very different view of the situation. The first three
months of Caesar's consulate sufficed to end his hope of suc-
cess for any constructive policy or even for active opposition.
He turned at once to counsels of prudence. Writing ten years
later, Cicero said, " While I make duty my standard of action,
I yet recall your counsels. If I had followed them, I should
have escaped the misery of that period. I remember the advice
you gave me after sounding Theophanes and Culleo, and indeed
42 II. 3, 3 and 4.
Cf. I. 19, 6.
* Nep. Att. 6, 2.
64 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
I have often recalled it with groans. Let me now therefore
return to the old calculations that I then rejected, so as to adopt
plans that ensure honor? yes, but safety too." 45 It is not pos-
sible to tell exactly what the advice of Atticus was, but its
tendency can be gathered from the points in which Cicero fol-
What we know is that in April Cicero was making a tour of
his villas; that he had for the time being abjured political life
and was anxious that his action should be so interpreted ; that
on his return to Rome he did not resume his political activi-
ties ; that in this almost ostentatious retirement he kept making
a real effort to divorce his mind from its political interests, and
that in furtherance of this end Atticus tried to distract and
stimulate him, and especially to divert his energy into literary
channels. 46 He also kept him informed about the situation in
Rome by almost daily letters. 47
There is nothing to indicate how far Cicero was influenced
by Atticus in the crucial decisions of the first months of 59,
when the offer of a place in the triumvirate 48 must have meant
to him not a mere vulgar temptation to desert the good cause,
but a possible chance to maintain a balance of power between
the rising individualists and the senate. Did Atticus,- who
seems never to have trusted that point of view, persuade him
to abandon it ? Or was Cicero himself, as the plans of Caesar
and Pompey were unfolded, shocked into a thoroughgoing op-
position? What seems probable from the tone of the corre-
spondence is that the plan of retirement was worked out be-
tween the two friends. The letters show an effort to reassure
Atticus, as if he had set the task at which Cicero was working. 49
We may take as the motive of the retirement a statement of
Cicero's written a few months later : " I had hoped, as I often
46 VIII. 12, 5.
46 II. 4, i and 3 ; 6, i and 2; 7, i ; 12, 3 ; cf. 14, 2.
47 II. 5, 2; 8, i; ii, i ; 12, 2 and 4; 15, i.
48 De Prov. Cons. 41.
40 II. 4, 2 and 4; 13, 2.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 65
said in talking with you, that the revolution in the state would
prove to have been already accomplished, and so quietly that
we could scarcely hear the sound of it, scarcely mark the im-
press of its passage ; and so it would have been, if people could
have awaited the passing of the storm." 50 His references to
Cato's mistaken course, 51 the bitter feeling that he betrays
against the optimates, 52 show that he had retired in despair of
leading an effective resistance to the unconstitutional forcing
through of the triumvirs' schemes. But Atticus seems to have
urged strongly the motive of prudence 53 and to have been
anxious to keep his friend suppressed; he discouraged even
social activities of a public character. 54 On coming back to
Rome in June, Cicero was assiduous in his professional labors,
which were profitable in their development of personal rela-
tions, with Atticus apparently urging him on and recommend-
ing clients to him. 55 He took pains to assure Atticus, who had
pressed the point, that he did not go beyond this sphere of
" Safety in seclusion " seems then to have been the idea de-
veloped in the walks and talks that followed Atticus' return to
Rome. In the meantime, the old optimate policy was still cher-
ished as an ideal and Cato's judgment respected as the standard
of righteousness. 57 Fear of estrangement from the optimates
was the cogent reason for Cicero's refusal of the proffered
place on the agrarian commission. 58 Dislike of the dynasts'
policy increased in both friends as the year advanced; 59 both
men were convinced that their ultimate aims were revolution
60 II. 21, 2; cf. 19, 3.
51 II. 9, I and 2.
II. 9, 3 ; 16, 2.
" II. 19, i.
54 II. 8, 2; 10; as Tyrrell remarks, the taunts of Clodius had much
to do with Cicero's sensitiveness about Pompeii (I. 16, 10).
55 II. 20, i.
66 II. 23, 3.
67 II. 5, i.
58 II. 19, 4; that courage was needed for refusing this offer from
Caesar is shown by IX. 2a, I.
59 II. 7, 2 and 3 ; 8, i ; 24.
66 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
and despotism. 60 There were slight differences in their points
of view. Of the two, Atticus had more of the enthusiasm cher-
ished by the optimates for the obstructive tactics of Bibulus. 61
On the other hand, Cicero was susceptible to an influence that
Pompey's presence exerted on him, an influence that operated
powerfully at several critical points in his life; he was probably
affected too by loyalty to an old enthusiasm. Atticus remained
Cicero began to realize the danger that threatened him
from Clodius at least as early as June of 6o. 63 When Atticus
left for Epirus in the summer of 59, it was with the promise to
return at a summons from Cicero if his help should be needed
in the face of that danger. 6 * During his absence, Cicero felt
the loss of advantages on which he had been able to count while
Atticus was in Rome; Atticus' ability to keep track of the
doings of Clodius, and even his influence upon that violent
democrat, 65 his influence in the sphere of Pompey through
Theophanes 66 and Varro. 67 The influence of Atticus on Clo-
dius probably existed only in Cicero's fancy, and it is a question
whether the information that Atticus got was not at times a
blind trail on which Clodius placed him. Apparently, however,
if Clodius deceived Atticus he deceived Curio also, 68 and per-
haps the impressions that Atticus formed really represented
the erratic course of Clodiius' shifting decisions. As to Pom-
pey, Cicero felt that if Atticus were in Rome, the malign in-
fluence of Crassus on his fellow triumvir might somehow be
counteracted. 69 As the elections, which had been postponed to
60 II. 14, i ; 17, i ; 18, i.
61 II. 15, i (the interpretation of iste as a demonstrative of the second
person must not be pushed in the letters, but seems unavoidable here) ;
19, 2} 21, 5; cf. VI. 8, 5.
62 II. 19, 2; 21, 3 and 4; 23, r ; 20, i.
63 II. i, 4.
6 * II. 15, 2.
65 II. 4, 2; 7, 2 and 3; 8, i ; 9, i ; 22, i, 4 and 5.
86 II. 5, i ; 17, 3.
II. 22, 4.
88 II. 8, i.
89 II. 22, 5.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 67
mid-October, drew near, he sent an imperative summons to
Atticus, begging him to come home, if not for the elections, at
least for Clodius' tribunate. 70 Atticus reached Rome, perhaps
by the earlier date, certainly by the later, for he persuaded
Cicero not to oppose the tribune's bill for the restoration of the
When Clodius proposed, toward the end of March, 58, a bill
condemning to exile anyone who had put Roman citizens to
death without trial, Atticus took fright, as did most of Cicero's
friends. 72 When an appeal to Pompey failed to elicit any as-
surance of protection, 73 Cato alone, it seems, advised a bold
stand. 7 * Following the counsel of the others, Cicero appealed
to the people 73 and finally left the city. He afterwards blamed
Atticus for furthering so pusillanimous a policy.
Cicero expected and urged Atticus to follow him, promising
himself protection under Atticus' convoy and on his estate at
Buthrotum against such of his enemies as were in Greece. 76
By mid- July, however, he was content to have Atticus stay in
Rome, realizing that his services there were indispensable. 77
After doing what he could to promote the safety and com-
fort of Cicero's journey, 78 Atticus began working for a repeal
of the decree of exile. He had an audience with Pompey, who
seems to have spoken with vague friendliness, not in a tone
that approved itself to Cicero as sincere. 79 Under stimulus
from Atticus, Varro kept up more or less active efforts for the
recall. 80 Atticus kept in touch with Pompey, who eventually
70 II. 23, 3.
III. 15, 4-
Dio 38, 17; cf. III. 8, 4; 15, 5 and 7; IV. I, I ; cf. De Leg. III. 45.
"HI. 15, 4 ;X. 4,3-
74 III. 15, 2; Plutarch says Lucullus; Cotta gave a judicial opinion to
the same effect (De Leg. III. 45).
7 III. 2; 7, I.
III. 12, 3.
78 III. 7, i ; Ad Fom. XIV. 4, 2; cf. V. 21, 10; VI. i, 6.
7 III. 9, 2; 19, 31 cf. Ad Q. F. I. 3, 9-
III. 8, 3; 15-3-
68 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
professed to be waiting only for Caesar's permission to act. 81
At the same time, he aimed at action in the assembly through
friendly tribunes, whose plans he revised and criticised. These
efforts resulted in a bill introduced by eight tribunes on Octo-
ber 29, but without effect. 82 New efforts were concentrated
upon the magistrates-elect, both consuls and tribunes. Through
the influence of Atticus, Metellus Nepos, who had quarrelled
with Cicero in 62, was brought to acquiesce in the movement
for his recall. 83 Cicero's expectancy and excitement were at
this time so great that he urged Atticus to hire adherents in
order to meet opposition with force. 84 Both his commissions
and his criticisms during this year show that Atticus was the
manager of the campaign for recall. 85 In January of 57, the
measure was successful in the senate, but the efforts of Clodius
for some months prevented action in the assembly. Atticus
left for Epirus early in the year, and was still there when
Cicero finally returned to Rome in September. 86
When Quintus came back from his province in the summer
of 58, it was feared that his enemies would take advantage of
the diminished prestige of the family to attack his administra-
tion in the courts. Atticus kept track of the movement and
used his influence against it ; in fact, Quintus wrote to Marcus
that Atticus was his sole support. 87
Cicero felt more than ever, on resuming his life in Rome,
the need of Atticus' diligence and sagacity in the management
of his affairs and, still more, in the planning of his political
course. Within a few days after his return, gratitude to
Pompey had swept him into movements that puzzled and
81 III. 14, i ; 13, i ; 15, 3; 18, i.
82 III. 15, 5; 19, 2; 20, 3; 23, i, 4 and 5.
83 III. 22, 2; 23, i ; cf. Ad Fatn. V. 4.
8 * III. 23, 5.
85 III. 24, i ; 25.
88 IV. i, I.
III. 17, 3.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 69
troubled him ; he found himself advocating extra-constitutional
powers for Pompey 88 and rejoicing in the success of his side
in the violent wrangling of the elections, 89 without being able
to take the measure of the situation or to find a place for
himself in the new rule of force. " Life has begun for me on
different terms," he wrote, in begging Atticus to return and
advise him. 90 A passage in one of the first letters seems to
show that before he left Greece he and Atticus had worked
out a policy leaving Cicero in a somewhat detached position
and excluding active participation in the political struggle. 91
On January 30 of 56, Atticus had already landed in Italy. 92
During the next few months, Cicero regained for a short time
his sense of leadership. Success in two cases that had a strong
political bearing 93 encouraged him to challenge the policy of
the dynasts by proposing a reconsideration of the Campanian
land question. This attempt served only to show him how
powerless he was. Pompey checked him by appealing to a
promise of good behavior that Quintus had made on his behalf
to Caesar during the exile, and he was made to feel that the
meeting of Pompey, Caesar and Crassus at Luca cemented an
alliance of impregnable power. It is apparent that in this at-
tempt to rally the optimate party against the dynasts he was
acting against the advice of Atticus. Writing a short time
afterward from Antium, whither he retired after the sharp
check placed upon his political efforts, he announced to Atticus
a definite break with the senatorial party, by whom he now felt
himself completely betrayed. "I have come to my senses at
last," he wrote, " with you to enlighten me." 94
The advice of Atticus, then, when based on direct observa-
88 IV. I, 6.
89 IV, 3, 3-5.
IV, i, 8.
91 IV. 2., 6. The reading utilitates meae has been confirmed by
Sjogren. Commentationes Tullianae, p. 158.
92 IV. 4.
03 Pro Sestio and In Vatinium.
94 IV. 5, i.
70 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
tion of the situation, proves the opposite of what he gave in 60,
when he was still cherishing theories. It is true that the
strength of one party and the weakness of the other had re-
ceived ample demonstration since that time, so that it did not
require superhuman perspicacity to draw conclusions, and yet
Cicero, who had just held the role of absentee, thought at first
that the situation was still hopeful. Atticus was somewhat in-
fluenced at this time, it appears, by gratitude for the help that
Pompey had given towards the recall of Cicero. At a later
time, he did not estimate this so highly, but for the moment,
doubtless in the flush of Pompey's genuine pleasure when the
cause prospered, he developed an enthusiasm for Pompey that
was destined to influence him later. It is not likely that he had
given to Pompey any such promises for Cicero's future conduct
as Quintus gave to Caesar, but he felt that there was a tacit
Cicero wrote about this time a document that committed him
to association with the dynasts. He was somewhat ashamed
to show it to Atticus, though he realized that Atticus would
welcome it as the entrance on a course that he had himself
recommended, 95 perhaps in almost the words used by Cicero:
" Since the weaklings will have none of me, I shall attach my-
self to the strong." In fact, we learn from a letter of Oc-
tober, 50, that Atticus had advised Cicero to attach himself to
both Pompey and Caesar, to Pompey because of obligation, to
Caesar simply from prudence, because of his commanding posi-
tion. 96 In the same letter, Cicero speaks again of his resistance
to Atticus' advice, doubtless referring to these months after
his return from exile. In his act of submission, however, he
feared that he had made the step too marked for Atticus' ap-
proval. " You will say that what you advised and urged was
a course of conduct, not a compromising piece of writing." 87
96 IV, 5, 3 ; this was doubtless a letter to Caesar, and not, as Momm-
sen thought, the speech De Provinciis Consularibus; see Tyrrell's argu-
ment ad loc.
86 VII. I, 2;cf. VIII. 3, 2.
' IV. 5, 2; cf. for this period, Phil. II. 23.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 71
Atticus may have been too cautious to advise the avowal of a
new allegiance, or he may still have hoped that Cicero could
approach the dynasts without entirely surrendering his inde-
pendence ; and yet in his next letter, Cicero held Atticus respon-
sible for the policy of subordination which he found so bitter
in the working out. "Am I then to be a henchman, when I
refused to be a leader ? So it must be, for such I see is your
On the other hand, it was in accordance with Atticus' ad-
vice that Cicero rejected the tempting idea of peace in retire-
ment; he quoted the old exhortation, Siraprav cAa^es, ravrav
Kooym, as expressing the only course that his friend's plan left
open to him, and, while shrinking from the ignoble acqui-
escence which that course seemed to involve, he settled down
to plan it out seriously, trusting to Atticus to reinforce his de-
termination during a visit to Antium. 8!> The use of the Euripi-
dean verse is significant, for it shows that while Atticus was
advising cooperation with the triumvirs subordination to
them, if need be he still felt that Cicero had a peculiar prov-
ince in the state. If it no longer involved cooperation with the
men whom he had trusted in 60, it is likely that it still held for
him a moral significance and an appeal to patriotic feeling. As
a high-minded and clean-handed statesman, Cicero was bound
not to slip out of public life, but in whatever way was feasible
to keep a footing there and make his ideals felt. Writing in
the autumn of this year, Cicero said, " I shall follow your ad-
monition to retain my place as a public man and yet to make no
rash moves ; but more prudence is needed, and I shall look to
you for it, as always." 100
Atticus urged Cicero at this time to write on Hortensius,
whether in a friendly or a hostile spirit the text does not show.
98 IV. 6, 2.
IV. 6, 2.
100 iv. 8a, 4; Tyrrell's translation for iroXmiccii, with moderation, is
not adequate ; et . . . et requires an antithesis. The word is used in
the same sense as in IV. 6, i, though there it denotes interest, not ac-
tivity, in public affairs ; cf . I. 18, 6 ; V. 12, 2.
72 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
Tyrrell is doubtless right in assuming that Atticus' intentions,
as usual, made for peace, and that Cicero's refusal wasi based
on a conviction that even a pacific pamphlet could not be written
without raking up old quarrels. 101
The letters of 55 are confined to four preserved from Cicero's
spring tour of his villas and one written from Tusculum in No-
vember. They show on Cicero's part distrust of Pompey, 102
hatred of Crassus, 103 and reluctance under the yoke of adhesion
to the triumvirs. 104
The letters for the summer of 54, when Atticus was in the
East, show nothing of his policy except its extreme caution.
Cicero expected a protest when he confessed that he had taken
part in the efforts made in the senate to push the prosecutions
for bribery ; it galled him to think that at the next meeting he
would not be one of the few to speak out their convictions
freely, but he felt the demand of Atticus for silence, though he
could not promise to respect it completely. 105 Atticus appears
by this time to have lost faith in the policy of Cato, who was
still opposing the triumvirs. 100 At the same time one feels the
sympathy that Cicero appealed to after his enforced and humil-
iating defense of Gabinius, when in answering Atticus' sup-
posed questions, " How did you conduct yourself ? " and " How
did Pompey accept your independent attitude ? " he insisted on
the decency of his personal position, but went on with an out-
pouring of grief over the failure of the republic and the menace
of a dictatorship, and concluded with an appeal for the pres-
ence of Atticus, as the person who of all the world most deeply
shared his feelings. 107
This year was marked by most significant advances on the
part of Caesar. 108 There are two hints of Atticus' feeling
10 * IV, 6, 3.
102 IV. 9, i, ut loquebatur.
108 IV. 13, 2.
10 * IV. 13, i.
105 IV. 17, 3 and 5.
106 IV. 18, 4.
107 IV, 18, i and 2.
108 IV. 15, 10.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 73
about Cicero's gratified but dignified response, but both are
obscure. "And so Caesar's friends Oppius and I, I mean,
though you may burst with scorn " Cicero wrote in October,
but the scorn imputed to Atticus may refer not to Cicero's con-
nection with Caesar but to his cooperation with the parvenu
Oppius. 109 Toward the end of the year, after extolling
Caesar's generous friendship as the one plank that he had
saved from the shipwreck, Cicero exclaimed, " Will you not
love him? Whom then will you choose to love?" 110 This is
in line with what he revealed later as to the feeling of Atticus
that he valued Caesar only for his power to help or hurt,
and had no liking for him. 111
Atticus was again left in charge of Cicero's political in-
terests during the latter's proconsulate. His first activity was
to promote the passage of a bill for the increase of the military
quotas in Syria and Cilicia, by influencing the consul Mar-
cellus, whose colleague was blocking the bill. 112 He used his
influence to further Cicero's desire for a prompt return, notably
with Hortensius, who had recently been reconciled to Cicero. 113
He still kept track of Pompey's plans through Varro. 114 He
passed upon Cicero's letters to the senate before they were
presented. 115 Cicero placed the greatest confidence in his in-
fluence, and insisted that everything depended on his presence
in Rome. 116
The first letters of this period show that both Cicero and
Atticus realized how seriously the state was menaced by the
threatened break between Caesar and the senate. 117 While in
109 IV. 17, 7.
110 IV. 19, 2.
in VII. i, 2.
n2V. 4, 2; Ad Fam. III. 3, i.
"'V. 2, i; 9, 2; VI. i, 13-
114 V. ii, 3.
115 V. 18, i.
118 V. 15, 3 ; 18, 3 ; 20, 7.
117 V. 2,3:3, i; 4, 4-
74 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
54 Atticus had urged Cicero to cultivate the friendship of
Caesar, in 51 his effort was to withdraw him from that con-
nection, and he seems to have ranged himself definitely among
the friends of Pompey. Cicero himself showed at this time a
greater confidence in Pompey than he had felt at any time since
the latter's return from the Mithradatic war. During the
three days of daily visits before he left for his province, he was
really edified by Pompey's conversation on matters of state,
and wrote as if he expected Atticus to share his enthusiasm
with none of the earlier scepticism. 118 In fact, he suggested,
apropos of a tribute paid by Atticus to Pompey, that they with-
draw their charge of insincerity. 119 " Our Pompey," Cicero
wrote during this year, and notably, in contrast to his refer-
ences to Caesar, "ours," without mention of Pompey's
name. 120 Atticus postponed his trip to Epirus in the summer
to await Pompey's return from Ariminum; in the latter part
of 50, he called on Pompey at Naples to sound him on the sub-
ject of Cicero's interests and on affairs of state, and had a most
satisfactory conversation. 121
Both Atticus and Cicero had come definitely to regard Caesar
as dangerous ; the first letters after Cicero's departure asked
anxiously about Caesar's movements, and Cicero assured At-
ticus that Pompey was commendably ready to resist the threat-
ened attack on the state. 122 By the beginning of 50, Atticus
felt that all hope of peace lay in Pompey. 123 In the late sum-
mer, he wrote of Caesar's expected arrival at Placentia with
four legions, expressing an alarm that Cicero fully shared. 124
In* accordance with this new position Atticus urged Cicero
to pay a debt of 800,000 sesterces that he owed to Caesar, and
took on himself the raising of the money. 125 All the pressure
118 V. 6, i ; 7 ; VI. 2, 10.
119 VI. i, ii.
120 VI. i, 3; V. n, 2.
181 V. 19, i ; VII. 2, 5.
2 V. 2, 3 ; 7.
123 VI. i, ii.
124 VII. i, i.
'V. 5, 254,3.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 75
for payment seems to have come from the side of Atticus and
Cicero, for Caesar would probably have been glad to keep
Cicero in his debt. Part of the debt was still unpaid when
Cicero returned, and both he and Atticus were more than ever
eager to be quit of it, definitely speaking of Caesar as a polit-
ical opponent and wanting to remove every obstacle to inde-
pendence of action. 126
Atticus had great hopes that the relegation of Cicero to a
province would prove to be the opening for him of a new ave-
nue of advance, that the just and merciful administration
which he had reason to expect from Cicero would win him new
friends both in his province and at Rome and arouse old en-
thusiasms. 127 The administration was all that he could desire,
but he must have realized long before Cicero came back that
the political field was for the present closed to that form of
achievement. He was ambiguous on the question of Cicero's
applying for a triumph, probably fearing a rebuff. 128 He had
some reason to fear that Cicero would spoil the good report of
his administration by handing over his post to the irascible
Quintus, but his guarded warning was so reinforced by Cicero's
own misgivings that the plan was at once abandoned. 129
OCTOBER, SO-DECEMBER, 50.
The letters that Cicero received from Atticus at various
points on his journey homeward showed that conflict between
Caesar and Pompey was imminent, and challenged him to a de-
cision. 130 His first impulse was to assure Atticus that he
would ultimately take the side of Pompey ; he did so in terms
implying that the strong moral feelings of Atticus were on that
side. He went back to the quotation that meant to him always
the vindication of his honor before the world, aiSeo/wu
"6 VII. 3, ii;85.
127 VI. i, 7 and 8; et passim.
128 VI. 3, 356,459,2; VII. 3, 2.
'VI. 6, 3; 9, 3-
130 VII. I, 3.
76 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
assigning to Atticus the role of sternest critic once assigned to
Cato. 131 Atticus' first advice was of a practical sort, that Cicero
should keep the imperium that he was then holding with a
view to a triumph, whether for the sake of his personal safety
or in the hope of his playing such a pacificatory part as Cicero
fondly prefigured for himself. 132
It may be that Cicero was overstraining the indications of
Atticus' preference for Pompey, but the citations from the
letters show that Atticus was at least arguing against Caesar.
While assuring Cicero that he had the utmost confidence in his
patriotism, he combatted the personal claims of Caesar by
suggesting that his favors to Cicero were after all slight in
comparison with his powers and Cicero's deserts. 133 He depre-
cated the influence of Caelius upon Cicero, setting over against
the young man's heady Caesarianism the weight of two con-
sulars. 134 Finally, he referred to the statue of Minerva that
Cicero had placed in the Capitol, using it as a reminder of his
duty toward his country. 133 A week or two later he was still
urging upon Cicero the authority of the optimates in Rome,
declaring that they placed great hopes in him and did not doubt
his allegiance to their cause. 136 Cicero felt the pressure of
Atticus' question, "How shall you vote in the senate?" On
December 16 he answered, " I shall vote for nothing without
your approval," 137 and on the next day, " I really disapprove
of opposing Caesar, but my vote shall go with Pompey," 138 and
a few days later he phrased his decision thus, "I vote with
Gnaeus Pompey, that is, with Titus Pomponius." 139
"1 VII. 1,4; cf. II. 5, i.
132 VII. 3, 2 and 3.
3 VII. 3, 3.
is* VII. 3, 3 and 6 ; whether Volcacius and Sulpicius had declared for
Pompey or merely for neutrality we cannot tell; their later course
leaned toward neutrality.
i 35 VII. 3, 3.
186 VII. 7, 5.
137 VII. 5, 5-
138 VII. 6, 2.
VII. 7, 7.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 77
Unfortunately the letters of December were nearly all
written before news could have reached Rome of the investing
of Pompey with unlimited military authority by Marcellus, 140
so that they do not show whether Atticus was shocked by the
readiness of the Pompeian side to resort to arms or merely
thought that the crisis demanded extra constitutional meas-
ures. The only letter written after he knew of these develop-
ments was one in which he asked Cicero, who was to have an
interview with Pompey, whether there was hope of peace.
After the interview Cicero replied that there was not even the
desire for it. 141
JANUARY, 49-FEBRUARY, 49.
For a period of three weeks, the last days of December and
the first half of January, Cicero was apparently near Rome
with his lictors and in communication with Atticus. During
this interval Caesar presented his demands to the senate and
was refused, was declared an enemy by a senatits consultum
ultimum and began his march against Rome. The correspond-
ence was resumed when Cicero was swept along with the rush
of the senate and consuls from the city, following Pompey's
refusal to defend it on January 17. Cicero's first letter is a
cry of disgust over the movement, at once stupid and reckless,
in which he was involved. 1 * 2 " He wrote later that he had seen
Pompey's display of timidity on the seventeenth of January,
and that he had never been satisfied with him since. 14:!
It is probable that his displeasure was heightened by the fact
140 Holzapfel, Die Anfdnge des Burgerkrieges, KHo, 1903, and Nissen,
cited by Holzapfel, date this not later than December 2, considering
that the news was conveyed by Atticus in a letter that Cicero received
on December 6 (cf. VII. 3, i) ; internal evidence of this is lacking.
Schmidt, Cicero beim Ausbruch des Burgerkrieges, Neue Jahrb., 1891,
121-130, argues convincingly for a date after the installation of the
tribunes. He places Pompey's assumption of command at Luceria
about December 16, and the arrival of the news in Rome about Decem-
141 VII. 8, 4.
"2 VII. 10.
143 IX. 10, 2.
78 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
that Pompey's action invalidated the moves toward peace in
which Cicero was already active. There is testimony to the
effect that he had urged the acceptance of the terms that
Caesar had proposed to the senate through Curio on January
7, 144 and that he later moved in the senate the sending of an
embassy to Caesar. 145 From the time of his return he had
been approached by Caesar with conciliatory messages, 1 * 6 which
he discounted as mere blandishments; in the second week of
January, however, he had had a night visit from Caelius, who
came as Caesar's representative. 147 He and Atticus must in-
evitably have been influenced in their decisions of the next few
months by the fact that Caesar had in a sense summoned
Cicero to the position of peacemaker and had tried to use his
influence with the senate, whereas Pompey had taken the direc-
tion of affairs out of the hands of the senate and had prevented
negotiations between the senate and Caesar. 148
The fact that Pompey abandoned Rome and the suspicion
that he would leave Italy seem to have affected the attitude
of Atticus also. On January 21 he wrote, " Let us see what
Gnaeus does and how he frames his plans. If he leaves Italy,
he will act wrongly and to my mind very foolishly. In that
case but not before that time we must form other plans." 149
His advice on this point remained consistent, though the tor-
tured conscience of Cicero sometimes read into his friend's
letters a reproof of his absence from Pompey. .
Following the correspondence from January 17 through the
fall of Corfinium to Pompey's withdrawal from Luceria to
Brundisium, we get some light on Atticus' estimate of Caesar,
on his attitude toward Pompey's policy, and on his plan tenta-
tive and undeveloped, but still a plan for Cicero.
144 Plut. Caes. 31 ; Pomp. 59-
145 Plut. Pomp. 60; App. B. C. II. 36; Holzapfel, loc. cit., thinks that
this refers to the second embassy.
" 6 VII. 3, ii.
147 Ad. Fam. VIII. 17, I.
148 Holzapfel, loc. cit.
IX. 10, 4.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 79
As previous letters indicated, he distrusted Caesar pro-
foundly, fearing that he would prove an unbridled despot, a
Phalaris. 150 In early February, he wrote of dreading proscrip-
tions ; 151 a week or two later he seems to have put the question
to Cicero, " Could you bear to look upon the tyrant? " though
Cicero was mistaken in thinking the question a counsel to flight ;
" the body of this death," " this sink of filth," so he spoke by
anticipation of the country destined to fall into the hands of
Caesar and his ravenous crew. 152 Both he and Cicero were
influenced in their judgment of Caesar by their scorn for the
flighty and venal young men of their acquaintance who had
joined Caesar, in whose truculent talk, moreover, the nature
and purposes of Caesar were misrepresented, and also by that
association of base elements with revolutionary movements
which had remained fixed in their minds since the days' of the
Catilinarian conspiracy. 153 But the conduct of Caesar after
the capture of Corfinium made a deep impression on Atticus.
On March 5, while Caesar was marching down the coast to
Brundisium and Cicero was shuddering at the thought of Pom-
pey's being intercepted, Atticus wrote, "If Caesar continues to
act as he has begun, with honesty, moderation and discretion, I
shall review the situation and consider carefully what is to our
advantage." 154 For Pompey's withdrawal before Caesar, he
had nothing but condemnation. It is probable that, like Cicero,
he failed to appreciate the military advantage that Pompey
would derive from a base of operations in the East. The idea
of abandoning Italy seemed to him mere senseless folly, of a
piece with the withdrawal from Rome ; he thought of it usually
not as a strategic measure but as a flight. " If he leaves Italy,
what end will there be of wandering?" 165 He warned Cicero
not to involve himself in an uncertain and perilous flight, 166
150 VII. 12, 2.
18! VII. 22, I.
152 IX. 10, 9; cf. 23, 2.
iss Cf . VII. 3, 5-
1M IX. 10, 9 ; cf . 2a, 2.
1 55 IX. 10, 4.
156 VII. 23, 2.
80 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
and protested that it was base for the optimates to consider
flight. 157 When he did consider the withdrawal as a war meas-
ure, his condemnation was even more severe ; it amounted to
nothing else, he thought, than setting the world on fire. "If
Pompey remains in Italy," he wrote late in January, " and
efforts at peace fail, the conflict will be, I think, all too long;
but if he leaves Italy, he will to my mind be saddling an atro-
cious war on our posterity." 158
The advice that Atticus gave to Cicero shows him prudent,
as always, watching the turn of events, but, more than that,
clinging tenaciously, in the teeth of circumstances, to his old
idea of Cicero's holding an independent position of influence.
On January 23 he expressed his opinion that if Pompey left
Italy Cicero should return to Rome. 159 On February 7, in ad-
vising against a participation in Pompey's flight, he wrote, " To
go would be to incur the utmost danger without benefiting the
state, and you can be of service to the state later on, if you
stay." 160 Cicero appreciated the canny element in Atticus' ad-
vice, and at times, in his unrest and distress, took a perverse
pleasure in emphasizing it. 161 At other times he estimated
more fairly the large idea that lay under Atticus' caution. 162
157 IX. 10, 6; this was written on February n, when Atticus still
hoped that Pompey would advance to the relief of Domitius. Cf. VIII.
"8 IX. 10, 5.
159 IX. 10, 4; the phrase did not then mean to him gratifying Caesar.
IX. 10, 5.
VIII. 12, 5.
162 In fact it was from the conscience of Atticus that he most feared
judgment upon his own caution. A chance expression from Atticus
would set him to condemning his politic course. Atticus seems to have
suggested that there was some danger in staying in Italy, in case Pom-
pey should be victorious (Jovi ipsi iniquum, VIII. 15, 2) ; Cicero con-
cluded at once that Atticus thought that his duty lay with Pompey. He
charged himself, in his moments of remorse, with a calculating motive
in staying. This motive was a most justifiable bit of prudence and
might well have proceeded from Atticus, though it seems not to have
done so. In fact, Cicero confessed it to him somewhat shamefacedly,
though he had avowed it manfully to Pompey (VIII. uD, 7) : he did
not wish to be caught again at enmity with one of the dynasts in case
the two came to terms with each other (X. 8, 5).
A difficulty with regard to Cicero's position at this period arises from
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 81
"Your advice approves itself to me," he wrote on February
23, " as honorable and at the same time safe. I am not influ-
enced by the decisions of Lepidus and Tullus. Their past does
not demand) from them what mine does from me. But your
counsel influences me profoundly, for there is in it a chance of
security in the present and of reestablishment in the future." 163
On February 28, in asking for advice, he wrote, " Tell me what
part you think it seemly for me to play, where you feel I could
be of most service to the state, whether there is room for a
peacemaker or whether the whole field is filled by war." 164 On
March I, moved doubtless by the clemency of Caesar at Cor-
finium, Atticus wrote that he still had hopes of an interview
between Caesar and Pompey with peace as its result. 163
Atticus had no desire to see Cicero remain in Rome alone
and unsupported ; he wanted him to represent an idea and head
the apparent' contradiction between Ad Fam. XVI. n, 3; Ad Att. VII.
n, 5, and IX. nA, 2. The passages bearing on this have been studied
by Sternkopf (Quaestiones Chronologicae 46, and W. K. P., 1899, 486),
O. E. Schmidt (Briefwechsel, 116, Neue Jahrb., 1891, 121-130), Bardt
(Ausgewdhlte Brief e, 1896), Sjogren (Charlies, Adnotationes Criticae),
with fairly uniform results. Ad Fam. XVI. n, 3, refers to a command
conferred by the senate at the time of the senatus consultum ultimum
and laid down by Cicero at the time of the decretum tumultus, when
the retention of such a command would have been equivalent to an
acceptance of war. "Cicero rejected Capua, after January 17, in the
interests of peace, making it his object to reconcile Caesar and Pom-
pey." Sjogren. The passages VII. 11, 5; 14, 3; VIII. iiB, i ; Ad Fam.
XVI. 12, 5, refer to an oversight of the western coast, hardly military.
VIII. nD, 3, and 12, 2, refer to a summons from Pompey to come to
Capua and take part in recruiting. Cicero complied so far as to go to
Capua, but not to recruit (so Sjogren). He was therefore justified in
telling Caesar that he had not joined either side after the outbreak of
war (IX. 1 1 A, 2) and in claiming afterwards that he had made unre-
mitting efforts for peace (Ad Fam. VI. 6, 5 ; Phil. II. 23-24; Brut. 266).
It is notable that Caesar kept trying until Pompey actually left Italy to
get an interview with him, and that Cicero wrote to Caesar about
March 19 urging peace, not knowing that Pompey had already sailed.
Atticus and Cicero were not then indulging impractical speculations
when they hoped that there was still a chance for Cicero to mediate.
"'VIII. 9, 3; cf. IX. 12, i.
1C * VIII. 12, 4.
IBS VIII. 15, 3 ; cf . Atticus' advice to Cicero to let the ladies of his
family remain in Rome and not to send the boys away (VII. 16, 3 ;
82 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
a following, not to bear witness to a cause by martyrdom. In
spite of illness, he kept in touch with such optimates as were
left in the city and watched over Cicero's reputation among
them. 166 He was apprehensive lest Cicero's inactivity should
be construed as favorable to Caesar. 167 He told Cicero of crit-
icisms of his course that circulated among the optimates, 168 but
spared him the comments of the extremists. 169 His hope was
that a stand for peace could be made within the optimate party.
There was no wavering in his adherence to that party. 170 He
did not think of Cicero's stay in Italy as an ultimate acqui-
escence in Caesar's triumph. He wrote on February 22, "If
Lepidus and Volcacius are staying, I think that you should stay
too, with this idea, that if Pompey makes his escape and makes
a stand somewhere, you should leave this carrion and choose
defeat in battle with him rather than power at Caesar's side
in the sink of filth which we can foresee here." 171 Again, on
March 5, he wrote of the possibility of Cicero's joining Pom-
pey later if there were need of it: "Your coming. will be all
the more welcome to him then/' 172
Atticus had reached Rome in September of 50 ill with fever,
and remained subject to attacks of quartan ague throughout
the winter. 173 This illness must have simplified decision about
lee VIII. 2, i; ii, 7; 12, 6; etc.
"7 VII. 26, 2.
IBS VIII. 2, 2 ; Cicero construed the letter here quoted info an unqual-
ified advocacy of the cause of Pompey and an admonition to join him
(VIII. 2, 2 and 4). He was wrong in both interpretations, especially
in the second, for Atticus reiterated in his letters his disapproval of
the 'flight.' On February 19 he wrote, " Nulla epistula significavi, si
Gnaeus Italia cederet, ut tu una cederes, out si significavi, non dico fui
inconstant, sed dement" (IX. 10, 6) ; cf. IX. 10, 8; VIII. n, 4; IX. 10,
9, with their dates ; these prove that Cicero is again wrong when he says
on February 23 that Atticus thinks his duty is with Pompey (VIII.
169 Cicero was shocked when he learned these from Philotimus
(VIII. 16, I).
170 Cf. VII. 25, litteras hilariores; 26, i, Quotient exorior; 23, i, In
quo tu quoque ingemiscis.
171 IX. 10, 7; this was written before Atticus knew of the clemency
displayed at Corfinium.
172 IX. 10, 9.
"3 VI. 9, i; VII. 12, 6; VIII. n, 7; IX. 7, 7; X. 16, 6.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 83
his own course of conduct. Cicero, however, on January 22,
challenged him to a decision : " You and Peducaeus must con-
sider what you are going to do. You hold, both of you, a posi-
tion of such prominence and dignity that you have the same
obligations as the most illustrious men in the state." 174 In a
letter of March 3, Atticus seems to have discussed the possi-
bility of leaving Rome, but the text is obscure. 175 After hear-
ing, the news from Corfinium, however, he was content to await
Caesar's further action with suspended judgment.
After Pompey's withdrawal to the coast, Atticus still kept
postponing the moment of decision for Cicero by urging him
to await the outcome of events at Brundisium. 176 As Cicero
said, there was nothing to await but Pompey's flight and
Caesar's return to Rome, 177 but Atticus seems to have hoped
that chance would make some break in the dreadful impasse by
which he felt his friend confronted. He evidently expressed
his sense of the hopelessness of the situation in a long and com-
prehensive letter that Cicero answered on March 13, in words
that summarize Atticus' estimate of the crisis : " I cannot say
that your letter gave me new life, but it did the next best thing,
for I no longer aim at a happy outcome of these events. I see
clearly that while Caesar and Pompey are alive nay, even if
Caesar survives alone there is no hope for the republic ; and
so I have ceased to hope for a life of peace. I am ready to
face disappointment and hardship. My only fear is lest I may
act ignobly lest I have acted ignobly." 178
In the meantime, Atticus gave practical advice for the imme-
diate situation. He consistently recommended Cicero to stay
at Formiae 179 and occupy a position of genuine neutrality. He
"4 VII. 13, 3-
178 VIII. 15, I. He planned a trip to Epirus for this spring (IX. 7,
7; X. 16, 6).
"IX. 13,2; 15,3.
i" VIII. 16, 2.
IX. 7, i.
"IX. 2a, i; 7, 2; 9, I.
84 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
tried to fortify him against the remorse he felt at not being
with Pompey, reiterating his own approval and that of Sex-
tus, 180 admitting apparently that Pompey was likely to feel
aggrieved at his absence, 181 but combatting that exaggerated
sense of obligation by which Cicero felt at times over-
whelmed. 182 Even in praising Cicero for putting away all bit-
terness in remembering the wrongs that Pompey had done him,
he made a list of those wrongs longer than Cicero's own. 188
On the other hand, he wished Cicero to make no concession to
Caesar. He disapproved of Cicero's proposal to go to Arpi-
num, where he would be off the path of Caesar's victorious
return to Rome. 184 While he recognized that even by staying
in Formiae Cicero incurred the danger of pleasing Caesar too
well, and being reckoned his friend, he thought it better than
running away. 185 He never considered the possibility of
Cicero's going to Rome and lending himself to Caesar's de-
signs; it would be base, he said, for Cicero even to be present
in a senate that legislated to Pompey's hurt, criminal for him
to sanction such legislation. 186 His suggestion was that Cicero
should ask for Caesar's consent to his staying away from the
city and holding a non-partisan attitude, abstaining from op-
posing Pompey as he had abstained from opposing Caesar. 187
In a letter of March 13, he adjured Cicero, when it came to
a meeting with Caesar, to treat with him on an equal footing,
without undue recognition of Caesar's power and with con-
fidence in his own position. 188 In a significant but too com-
pressed passage written on the same day, Cicero refers to the
180 IX. 2a, i; 7, 2; 10, 10.
181 IX, 23, 2.
182 IX. 7,4; 13, 3; Cicero's own family thought that it was disgraceful
for him to be away from Pompey (IX. 6, 4), and it is probably true
that it was Atticus' consistent and confident advice that held him at
Formiae (IX. 10).
a IX. 9, x.
18 IX. 6, i ; 7, 2.
188 IX. 5, i.
18 IX. 2a, i.
'IX. 7, 3; 9, i.
188 IX. 9, 2.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 85
plan that Atticus suggested in case Caesar should refuse to
allow him an independent position. The plan seems to be that
Cicero should take upon himself the responsibility of nego-
tiating for peace with Caesar in the name of the Pompteian
party. Cicero realized the danger of the step, as he knew that
his views concerning peace would not please Pompey, but he
felt that of all the dangers confronting him it was the one to
be incurred with honor. 189
In the meantime, Atticus continued to discuss the possibilities
of Cicero's escape from Italy, largely by way of pointing out
the impracticability of an immediate departure, yet recogniz-
ing escape, apparently, as the ultimate choice. 190
Atticus' intercourse was largely with the optimates in
Rome, 191 and his sympathies were with their cause. Cicero
quoted Atticus' own phrase when he wrote that with the with-
drawal of Pompey from Italy the sun seemed to have fallen
from heaven. 192 It is probably excessive sensitiveness to the
criticism circulating among the optimates, themselves inactive
and irresolute, that is reflected in Atticus' comment on the man-
ful letter in which Cicero expressed to Caesar his hope of
peace and offered to act as mediator ; 103 they considered a men-
tion of Caesar's "admirable wisdom" unduly flattering, and
felt that Cicero had betrayed his own side in admitting that
Caesar had been wronged. 194
As to Caesar, Atticus' feeling seems still to show the modi-
fication produced by the ' clemency ' of Corfinium. He still
feared the greedy and unscrupulous pack who were helping to
win Caesar's victories, 195 but he had less distrust of the victor
himself. He was confident that Caesar would acquiesce in
189 IX. 7, 3-
190 IX. 5, i ; 7, 5 ; 9, i ; 12, i.
" IX. 3, i ; 5, 3 ; etc.
192 IX. 10, 3.
"3 ix. 1 1 A.
194 VIII. 9, i ; for the dating of this letter, about March 29 instead
of February 25, see Bardt, Festschrift fur O. Hirschfeld, 1903, 11-15;
Schiche, Z. G., 1908, II. 6; Sternkopf, Bursian, 1908, 28.
195 IX. 9, 4-
86 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
Cicero's neutrality 188 and he probably hoped that peace would
be forwarded by an interview between the two, and for that
reason insisted on their meeting. He by no means gave Caesar
a full confidence, however, for Cicero felt that there was some-
thing less than frank in the intention of such good optimates
as Atticus and Peducaeus to go out as far as the fifth mile-
stone to meet the returning Caesar. " I do not criticise you,"
he wrote, "but in these days there is confusion among the
standards whereby we are wont to tell genuine goodwill from
The suspense of the month had its climax for both friends in
the meeting between Cicero and Caesar at Formiae on March
28. Cicero congratulated himself on having followed the ad-
vice of Atticus in both its important points: he had been so
little complaisant as to deserve Caesar's respect rather than his
gratitude, and he had maintained his refusal to go to Rome. 198
He had found no complaisance in Caesar; Atticus' hope for
the victor's consent to an independent stand was completely
disappointed. It remained for Cicero to challenge Atticus anew
for that decisive word which he had postponed until they should
know the result at Brundisium. 198
Atticus cheered Cicero with cordial praise, both from him-
self and from Peducaeus, for his conduct in the interview with
Caesar. 200 Cicero's answering compliment on his friends' con-
duct in the crisis, " You and Sextus have held the same digni-
fied position as you prescribed for me," makes it doubtful
whether they had gone out to meet Caesar, as they had once
considered doing. 201
J IX. aa, i ; 18, i.
! 7 VIII. 9, 2.
s ix. 18, i ; 19, 4-
IX. 18, 4.
200 X. i, i.
i, 4;cf. VIII. 9, 2.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 87
The demand for a decision found Atticus still reluctant. He
asked Cicero to wait to see what action Caesar's first senate
would take. 202 Though he seems to have regarded Caesar's
initial measures with censure and alarm, 203 and to have dis-
trusted the projects for peace negotiations, 204 he still hoped
with no evidence, as he admitted, except his own feelings that
Cicero would be summoned to Rome to act as mediator. 205
With Caesar's failure to secure his position by constitu-
tional means and his departure for Gaul on April 6, Atticus'
hopes of a composition were ended, and yet he was reluctant to
see Cicero leave Italy ; he now urged him to wait until some-
thing decisive happened in Spain. 208 Even when he planned a
departure for Cicero, he did not feel it imperative that he
should join Pompey ; and while Cicero fluctuated between join-
ing Pompey and expatriating himself in Athens, Epirus or
Malta, there is no sign that Atticus tried to determine his de-
cision. 207 In fact, he found out through Balbus whether Caesar
would favor Cicero's retiring to Malta. 208
We have no letters between April 22 and May 2, and after
that interval there are constant veiled reference to a plan of
action that Atticus wanted Cicero to carry out after leaving
Italy. It was to be such a stroke as would redeem in the eyes
of the optimates and in his own Cicero's long hesitation. 209
Sicily seems to have been the field proposed for it, 210 and it is
likely that the cooperation of Curio was hoped for, especially
in case Caesar should not be successful in Spain. 211 A stand-
ard was to be set up, and Atticus advised a bold and open initial
movement. 212 Great secrecy had to be preserved while Cicero
202 X. i, 2.
203 X. i, 2.
2 <* X. i, 4.
206 X. I, 3 .
2 <>X. 8, i.
20* IX. 7, 7; 12, I ; X. I, 2; 7, I ; 9, I ; 18, 2.
2 8 X. 18, 2.
209 X. i2a, 2.
2" X. 12, 2.
211 X. 7, 3 ; 10, 3 ; 12, 2 ; 13, 3 ; cf . for Curio's friendship, X. 4. 7-10.
212 X. 15, 2.
88 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
was still in Italy, but there were other parties to the con-
spiracy. As Cicero was not the only person considered for the
leadership, 213 it may be that the plan did not originate with
Atticus, but was hatched among the optimates in Rome. At-
ticus, however, was deeply interested in seeing it tried. 21 * But
the scheme never matured. By the time Cicero left Italy on
June 7, Sicily was firmly in the hands of the Caesarians.
Cicero probably went to Atticus' estate in Epirus, joining Pom-
pey later in the year.
Atticus had for some time considered going to Epirus 215 and
probably carried out his plan in the summer. While in Rome,
he accommodated himself to the Caesarian regime and called
on Caesar at the pontifical palace, with what object we do not
know. 21 "
By January of 48, Atticus was in Rome, though the ex-
tremists in Pompey's camp were threatening him with con-
fiscation of his estates for his failure to join them. 217 In the
late autumn, after the defeat of Pompey, Cicero in desperation
returned unaccompanied to Brundisium, to cast himself on
Caesar's mercy. Atticus seems to have been startled by this
bold move, but took up Cicero's cause with the Caesarians in
the city, 218 at the same time cultivating favorable sentiment
among the optimates. 219 He was really powerless to advance
Cicero's reconciliation with Caesar. Nepos says that Caesar
was so grateful to Atticus for his passivity during the civil
war that he spared him the requisitionary letters which he sent
to other rich men, and because of Atticus' intercession gave their
freedom to Quintus and his son. 220 The evidence of the letters,
213 X. 15 3.
21 *X. I2a, 2; 14, 3; 15, 2; 16, 4.
2 Cf. IX. 7, 75 12, i; X. 5, 3; 17,4.
216 x. 3a, i.
217 Cf. XI. 6, 2 and 6.
218 XI. 6, 3 ; 7, i ; 8, i and 2 ; 14, 2 ; i;a, 2 ; 18, 2.
2 * XI. 6, 2.
220 Ait. 7, 3.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 89
however, shows that Atticus did not feel free to ask favors
directly from Caesar. 221 His policy was now one of concilia-
tion; he no longer counselled independence, but talked of the
necessity of adapting countenance and speech to changed cir-
cumstances and reminded Cicero of the passive acquiescence
that had been necessary to secure one's life in the days of
On his return to Italy in September, Caesar welcomed the
advances of Cicero, who at once journeyed toward Rome. 223
The letters of 46 and 45 show that Atticus lived on cordial
terms with the victorious Caesarians without becoming a par-
tisan of Caesar. 224 The fact is that the world was Caesarian.
With Brutus holding a military and Varro a literary commis-
sion under Caesar, Atticus would have been hard put to it to
form a circle of steadfast Pompeians from among his old
While it is still apparent that he could not make the claims
of a party man on Caesar's favor, 225 the urgency of his interest
in the threatened confiscation of land from Buthrotum
prompted him to prepare a petition which Cicero presented to
Caesar. This was cordially received ; a requisition was substi-
tuted for the confiscation. Atticus advanced to the Buthro-
tians the money that they needed to meet this requisition. 228
When he discovered that colonists were nevertheless gathering
for Buthrotian lands, he expressed his anxiety to Caesar, and
received reassurance that after the colonists were out of Italy
they would be directed to another spot for settlement. 227
221x1. 12, 4; 18, 2; 25, i.
222 XI. 16, i ; 24, 5 ; 21, 3.
223 Cf. Phil. II. 5-
22* XII. 2, 2; 4, 2; XIII. 7; 14, 4; 19, 2; 47, i.
225 XIII. 20, i; 21, i; 45, 2.
226 XII. 6, 4 ; XVI. i6a, 4 and 5 ; the loan was probably an act of com-
passion on the part of Atticus, as Cicero represents it.
22* XVI. i6a, 5.
90 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
His attitude on various questions with a political bearing
shows that he no longer concerned himself anxiously about
opinion among the Pompeians, but was on his guard, though
not to the point of subserviency, against the disapproval of the
Atticus was not willing to have Cicero retire from public
life. Scarcely a month after the death of Tullia, he began try-
ing to arouse him from the despair into which his loss plunged
him, urging upon him statesmanship as his fyyrjprjiM, the em-
ployment of his old age, and warning him that his political
leadership might suffer through excessive indulgence in
Failing to persuade his friend to return to the Forum, At-
ticus suggested that he should write political articles, advising
first a letter of counsel to Caesar, such as Aristotle and Theo-
pompus had written to Alexander, and acquiescing, apparently,
when that plan failed, 230 in the substitution of a literary essay,
the letter on Caesar's Anti-Cato. 231 He next helped Cicero to
plan a political treatise in dialogue form, but this project also
was abandoned. 232 Considering, besides these abortive at-
tempts, the works actually produced in 46, the Brutus and the
Cato, with their fearless expression of republican sentiment, 233
one may feel that Atticus' ideal for Cicero's writing is well ex-
pressed in Cicero's words to Varro, written in the spring of
the same year, " Let us be ready, in case we are summoned, to
work, whether as architects or merely as masons, on the struc-
228 XII. 7, i ; 45, 2; XIII. 10, 2; 39, 2; 42, i. In deciding how to
treat Dolabella and the younger Quintus it was necessary to consider
the political situation.
228 XII. 14, 3; 20, i ; 21, 5; 383, i; 40, 2; see Tyrrell, ad loc., with
comparison of XII. 29, 2, and Plut. Cato, 24.
230 XII. 40, 2 ; XIII. 26, 2; 27, i ; 28, 2 and 3.
231XIII.47; 50, i; cf. 19,2.
232 XIII. 30, 2; 32, 3; 33, 3; 6a; for the significance of this projected
work and for bibliography on it, see Miinzer, Hermes, 1914, pp. 204-210.
233 cf. Tyrrell's citations and his discussion on Schmidt's theory
(Prog, on M. Brutus, p. 172), also Brut. 4-6, 21, 157, 248, 250 f., 266,
280, 324, 328 ff. Cf. also Cicero's defense of himself against the impli-
cation of subserviency in his letter to Caesar (XIII. 51, i).
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 91
ture of the state; but if there is no call for our services, let us
write or read on political subjects, and in literary works, if not
in the senate house and in the Forum, let us, like the most
learned ancients, guide the state and be its pathfinders in ques-
tions of morals and law." 23 *
We have unfortunately no record of Atticus' opinions for
the period when Cicero's faith in Caesar was at its highest, the
autumn of 46. From the letters of 45, it appears that Cicero
was more restive than Atticus under the limitations imposed on
free speech and free political action; 235 but Atticus was subject
to alarm, filled with distrust. 236 The two friends, however,
discussed without bitterness Cicero's plan for meeting Caesar
on his return from Spain ; they had settled down to limited
The next letters to Atticus follow the assassination of Caesar.
Whatever may have been the first reaction of Atticus to the
shock of that event, he joined the group of those who openly
rejoiced in it, 238 and was apparently present at the early con-
ferences at which further plans for the tyrannicides were dis-
cussed. He favored a bold stand, and exclaimed that if a pub-
lic funeral was accorded to Caesar, the cause was lost. 239
Later on, in his discontent with the precarious amnesty under
which the tyrannicides were living in uneasy passivity, he
found fault with the first action of the senate, 240 the compro-
mise by which, on March 7, amnesty was granted to the tyran-
nicides and the acta of Caesar were declared valid. When
Cicero, by pushing responsibility farther back, forced him to
234 Ad Fam. IX. 2, 5.
235 XII. 21, 5 ; 23, i ; 25, 2 ; XIII. 27, i ; 28, 2 ; 31, 3 ; 49, 2.
236 XIII. 44, i ; 10, i.
237 XIII. 50, 4; their hopes might be expressed in Cicero's summing
up of Caesar's visit, Zvovdaiov ovdiv, in sermone, 01X6X070 tnulta (XIII.
238 XIV. 22, 2 ; so 13, 2.
2 3 XIV. 10, I ; 14, 3.
2 * XIV. 10, i.
92 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
a defense of the Bruti and Cassius, Atticus insisted, evidently,
that the friends of the conspirators should either have absented
themselves on that day or have spoken freely. Cicero re-
minded him that the senate had been beset by Caesar's vet-
erans. 241 After it became evident that no positive action or
leadership was to be expected from Brutus, he watched the
course of events, looking for signs of public or official favor
or hostility toward the " heroes." 242 Before the end of April,
he adopted Cicero's formula of resignation, " We must be con-
tent with the great deed itself." 248
Yet he did not give himself up to inaction. After. Brutus, in
mid- April, went into semi-retirement at Lanuvium, Atticus ran
down often from the city to confer with him and Cassius on
the next steps to be taken. 244 He realized that the safety of
Brutus depended on the tolerance of Antony. 245 Perceiving
that Antony was really hostile, he was glad to see him opposed
by any one in a less precarious position than Brutus. 248
Whether it was action or caution that he recommended to
Brutus at this time, he did what lay in his power to rally a party
His first effort was of course to bring about a close com-
bination between Brutus and Cicero. When Brutus and Cas-
sius were preparing the edict which they were to put forth, in
accordance with their agreement with Antony, to disperse the
groups of partisans gathered in the towns for their support,
Atticus tried to bring Cicero into cooperation by getting him
to prepare a draft for the edict 247 and to outline a policy to be
241 XIV. 14, 2.
242 XIV. i, 152, i; 3 , 2; 5, i;6, i.
2 XIV. 14,3.
244 XIV. 20, i ; 21,1 ; 22, 2; XV. 4, 2; 9, 2; 20, 2; for Atticus' coopera-
tion with Brutus at a still earlier time, see XIV. 8, 2.
2 XIV. 6, i ; 7, 1 5 8, i ; 10, i ; 14, 7 ; XV. 9, i.
246 XIV. 15, i and 2; cf. Phil. I. 5 and 30; XIV. 16, 2; 19, i ; 20, 4; Ad
Fam. XII. i.
247 XIV. 20, I and 3; Brutus followed his own plan rather than
Cicero's, but as Atticus wrote from Lanuvium it is likely that he passed
upon the edict before it was issued.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 93
followed after the publication. 248 About a week later, writing
that the courteous tone of the edicts gave him confidence and
hope, 249 he sent a request from Brutus that Cicero meet and
advise him before June i, 250 the day appointed for the meeting
of the senate. He tried to persuade Cicero to further the cause
by political writing, advising first a history of the times, ex-
posing to posterity the ruthless masters of the state, 251 next
the embodiment of the same material in a book of anecdotes, 252
next a contio for the use of Brutus, and, when Cicero pointed
out the thanklessness of that task, 253 an ideal oration purport-
ing to be spoken by Brutus after the assassination of Caesar. 254
Upon Cicero's protest that such an oration would be a reflec-
tion on the speech that Brutus had actually delivered and had
afterwards circulated, Atticus only pressed his request for a
piece of writing more strongly, varying the terms ; " something
in the manner of Heracleides," he urged. 255 Cicero promised
to consider such a pamphlet, but asked leave to wait until he
was less out of humor with the political situation. 256 Atticus
must have accepted the postponement with regret, since it was
just because the times were "out of joint" that he wanted
Cicero to write. At parting from Atticus in July, Cicero prom-
ised to begin work on the pamphlet on reaching Brundisium. 257
Besides, Atticus kept in touch with his old friends among
the Caesarians, 258 and doubtless seconded, if he did not sug-
gest, the efforts of Brutus and Cassius to form a party among
them. 259 He seems finally to have assented, however, to the
2 XIV. 20, 4-
249 XV. i, 3; the plural shows that Antony had replied.
250 XV. I, 5.
251 XIV. 14, 5-
252 XIV. 17, 6.
253 XIV. 20, 3 ; XV. 2, 2.
2" XV. 3,2; cf. la, 2.
265 XV. 4, 3.
256 XV. 4, 3.
257 XV. 27, 2.
"8 XVI. 2, 5 ; 3, 5 ; Ad Fam. XI. 29.
25 XIV. 20, 4; XV. 5, i; 6, i; for Atticus advising Cassius, see
XIV. 19, I.
94 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
judgment that Cicero passed upon them, specifically upon Hir-
tius and Balbus, "They are afraid of peace" a phrase aptly
conveying the essential instability of a state in which large
property holdings res-ted on confiscation. 260
During the latter part of April and the whole of May, such
reports of Antony's plans 261 were current that toward the end
of May Atticus confessed that he could not advise the tyran-
nicides, 202 and Cicero, when appealed to, wrote that he also was
devoid of counsel. 263 The pacific protest of Brutus and Cas-
siusi 284 brought them no reassurance from Antony, and they
did not venture to appear in Rome. After the ineffectual meet-
ing of the senate on June i and the pushing through of An-
tony's designs on Gaul in the assembly on June 2, when it
began to be reported that the provinces of Brutus and Cassius
would be discussed in the senate on June 5, Atticus was sum-
moned to a special conference at Lanuvium, but was unable
to go. 263 He was not present at the conference of the same sort
that Cicero attended at Antium on June 8, where the question
was discussed whether Brutus and Cassius should allow them-
selves to be removed from Italy as commissioners of grain. 266
One result of these conferences was that Brutus decided to
celebrate his praetorial games, in order to keep his cause before
the public. As his friends thought it too imprudent for him to
appear in Rome, the preparations and the actual production
had to be administered by others, and for these Atticus was
largely responsible. He spared no labor, as Brutus spared no
expense, in his efforts to interest and please the spectators.
He watched the production and its effect, and sent accounts to
Cicero at Puteoli and to Brutus, who was tarrying in the island
260 XIV. 6, i ; 10, 2 ; 21, 2 and 4 ; XV. 2, 3 ; 22.
261 XIV. 14, 4; 21, 2; 22, 2; XV. 4, I-
262 XV. 4, 2.
263 XV. 5, i.
*AdFam. XI. 2.
2 sXV. 9, 2 ;io, i.
266 XV. 9, i; n, i; Atticus and Cicero were at Lanuvium together at
least once during this period (XV. 20, 2).
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 95
of ISiesis hoping that the games would produce some mani-
festation in his favor. 267
In the meantime, the position of Atticus was complicated by
the recurrence of the Buthrotian trouble. Caesar's death had
left uncompleted the plan to deflect the colonists to another
place of settlement, and the matter had to be taken up afresh
with those in control of affairs. The case was clear and well
attested and its equity was evident, 268 but there was reason
to fear that much depended on the caprice of the consuls. At-
ticus' fortune, as well as his reputation for influence in the
politico-financial world, was at stake, 269 and he consequently
feared to antagonize Antony. It was probably on account of
Buthrotum that Cicero, who answered Atticus' earnest appeals
by protesting an equal interest in the cause, 270 in late April gave
a favorable reply to Antony's request about the return of Sex-
tus Clodius, deeply as he disapproved of Antony's action. 271
Atticus hoped for action in the senate on June i, and urged
Cicero to attend even after Cicero pointed out the impossibility
of accomplishing anything in the senate when Antony was
steadily gathering troops. 272 Atticus evidently gave up the
hope of senatorial action during the last days of May, for
Cicero in those days decided against going to Rome, though he
held himself in readiness, until the last moment, to start at a
summons from Atticus. 273 After the execution of Caesar's
acta was put into the hands of the consuls by the plebescite of
June 2, 27 * Atticus submitted to them the case of Buthrotum;
they gave a favorable answer at once. 275
26TXV. 10, i; ii, 2; cf. 12, i; 18, 2; 21, 2; 24; 28; XVI. i, i ; 2, 3;
5, 3; Phil. I. 36.
268 XIV. 12, I.
2 Cf . XVI. i6A, 7.
270 XIV. 10,3; XV. 2, i;4, 3-
2" XIV. 13, 6; XV. i, 2.
272 XIV. 14, 6; 17, 2; 19, 4; 20, 2; XV. i, 2; 2, 2; 4, i and 3.
2" XV. 8, i.
274 XVI. i6C, ii.
275 See XV. 12, i, written on June 9 or 10; in his first letter to
Plancus (XVI. i6A, 6), Cicero says that the case was submitted to the
consuls and favorably passed on by them after they had been entrusted
96 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
By the middle of June, however, when Atticus was already
burdened with the preparation for Brutus' games, he found
that Lucius Antony was obstructing the settlement of the
Buthrotian affair, and, later, that the case had to be referred to
a decemvirate of land commissioners ; 276 he confessed that he
was in despair. He and Cicero brought every possible influ-
ence to bear upon the consuls, and Cicero wrote repeatedly to
Plancus, the leader of the colonists, to members of Plancus'
suite, and to Oppius. 277 About the end of the first week in
July, Atticus was able to report that the matter was settled. 278
A week or two later, he met Antony at Tibur, and pocketing all
the grievances that he cherished on behalf of his friends,
thanked him warmly for his assistance in the affair of Buthro-
tum. He wrote apologetically of this dissimulation to Cicero,
who answered with unqualified approval: "As you say, our
fortunes will be with us when the constitution has fallen to
Atticus now planned a trip to Epirus, 280 and Cicero and
Brutus were both considering retiring to Greece. Cicero sub-
mitted 1 to Atticus the question whether it was honorable, pos-
sible and expedient for him to leave the country, declaring his
willingness to stay until he had done all in his power for
Brutus. 281 It was agreed between them that Cicero might well
go, with the proviso that he should return by January i, when
Antony's consulate would be ended and there might be hope
for constitutional government. 282 He left during the last week
in July. 283
with the execution of the acta by a senatus consultum, i.e., after March
17; the evidence of the letters shows that the statement to Capito is
XV. 15, i ; 19, i.
277 XV. 17, i ; 19, i ; 14, 2; 27, 2; XVI. 2, 5; 16, A-F.
"8 XVI. 2, i and 5.
27 XVI. 3, i.
2 8o XV. 27, 2; XVI. 2, 6.
282 XVI. i, 352, 4 and 6; 6, 2.
283 XV. 27, 2;XVI. 6.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 97
As it turned out, neither Brutus nor Atticus left Italy at that
time. When Cicero, thrown back upon Italy by contrary winds,
came into contact with Roman affairs again, he found that the
position of the tyrannicides wore a more positive and promis-
ing aspect. 284 It was a most unwelcome surprise to him to find
Atticus criticising his absence from the country, saying that
Cato would hardly have approved it. He answered that At-
ticus would have served as his Cato, then as always, if he had
only expressed such opinions earlier. 285 Evidently either
Cicero had) misinterpreted Atticus' letters informing him of
public sentiment in favor of his going, not sufficiently weigh-
ing, in his eagerness, the persistence of certain reservations
that Atticus had expressed at the first, or Atticus had been in-
fluenced, during Cicero's absence, by sentiment in the circle of
Brutus' friends where there seems indeed to have been a new
activity and had really changed his mind about Cicero's right
to be absent.
When Cicero returned he declared against assuming political
leadership, as Brutus wanted him to do. 286 Two months later
he opened a letter by concurring with Atticus' decision, " Our
role is not to lead a party or even to form one, but to co-
operate where we can." The same letter committed the sec-
ond Philippic to the care of Atticus, leaving with him the de-
cision as to when it should be published. Atticus was still
postponing a break with Antony. He even talked of an under-
standing between him and Cicero, but Cicero felt that silence,
i. e., the temporary suppression of the second Philippic, was a
more feasible policy. Both felt that they would gain by wait-
ing until Antony was no longer consul, and that in the mean-
time events might favor them. The progress of Sextus Pom-
pey in Spain still gave foundation for hope, but Antony was
zs* XVI. 7, i and 7; Ad Fom. XI. 3; Phil. I. 10.
zss XVI. 7, 2-5. In view of this letter, one must take the magna
po-irfi of XVI. 5, 4, as simply the facts given in Atticus' letter, showing
the dangers gathering in Italy.
2 8XVI. 7, 7: cf.Phil.V.20.
98 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
landing legions from the East ; it was no moment to defy him.
Cicero felt a strong impetus to write the Heracleidean pam-
phlet, and asked Atticus, who still desired it eagerly, to decide
on its nature and plan. 281
One reason, doubtless, why Atticus held back from action
was that he questioned the wisdom of using the one instru-
ment against Antony that was at hand, Octavian. In spite of
the conspicuous deference which that youth had shown to
Cicero from the time of his arrival in Italy in April, 288 Atticus
remained sceptical. He had disliked Octavian's first contio,
delivered in May, had disapproved of his games in honor of
the victory of Pharsalia, 289 and had been pleased when his
efforts to display insignia of Caesar were thwarted and con-
demned. 290 Cicero at first suspended judgment, 291 but by No-
vember Octavian's assiduity in consulting him forced him into
a reluctant sponsorship for the young man's advance to Rome
with his soldiers. 292 He realized that the absence of Brutus
left the opponents of Antony dependent on Octavian for de-
fense. 293 Atticus still resisted this conviction. 294 Though
Octavian showed an admirable intention to defer to the sen-
ate 295 and constantly urged the leadership of his party on
Cicero, 296 Atticus, even while recognizing that the battle was
on between Octavian and Antony and that the issue pressed
for a decision, 297 warned Cicero that Octavian's accession to
power would mean an even more unassailable ratification of
Caesar's acta than Antony had achieved, and that the result
28? XV. 13.
288 XIV. II, 2J 12,2.
289 XV. 2, 3.
290 XV. 3, 2.
291 XV. 12,2; XVI. 8, i;9.
292 XVI. 8, 2 ; cf . 9, consilio tuo.
203 XVI. 8, i and 2.
294 Cicero was probably influenced by Atticus in his desire not to
commit himself to Octavian's cause without good backing. Cf. XVI.
9, Nil sine Pansa tuo volo.
295 XVI. 9J ",6.
29 XVI. 9: n,6.
297 Cf. XVI. 133,2; 14, i.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 99
would be pernicious for Brutus. 298 A contio in which Octa-
vian praised Caesar added to his distrust. 299 He besought
Cicero to move slowly, cautiously, 300 reminding him that the
overthrow of Antony would not in itself guarantee a free state,
and calling his attention to the fact that Casca's candidacy for
the tribunate, on which Octavian would have to take a stand
by December 13, offered them an adequate test of his real in-
tentions with regard to the tyrannicides. 301
When Cicero submitted to Atticus the question of his com-
ing to Rome before January i, alleging again and again his
fear that some valiant stroke would be struck while he was
ingloriously absent, 302 Atticus first deflected him from his in-
tention of reaching Rome on November I5, 303 sending him
down to Arpinum instead, 304 and in early December was still
holding him there 300 until the issue of events should be more
clear. It seems, however, that he had outlined a policy which
was merely postponed until the time should be ripe, a policy in
which Cicero promised to follow his lead, depending upon his
Curiously enough, Cicero closed the last letter to Atticus
with a despairing abnegation of all patriotic interests, and a
declaration that his only concern was for his threatened finan-
cial reputation. 307 This letter, dated early in December, was
followed by his return to Rome and by that struggle against
Antony in which he proved his patriotism by the activities of
298 XVI. 14, I.
299 XVI. 15, 3-
o XVI. 14, 2.
aoi XVI. 15, 3 ; Cicero had already, in conversation with Oppius, post-
poned a decision until this test should be applied (XVI. 15, 3). If
Ad Brut. I. 16 and 17 be counted as genuine, and if in 17, 6, Octavius
be read for Antonius, there is evidence that by May of 43 Atticus was
willing to vouch for the sincerity of Octavian's professions.
3 <>2 XVI. 12; 10 ; I3b, i.
303 XVI. 13, 2.
*o XVI. 13, 2.
aos XVI. 15, 6.
306 XVI. 13, i.
3 <>* XVI. 15, 4-6-
100 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
his last days. The return to Rome, which took place on De-
cember 9, 308 was necessitated by business difficulties, 30 * but it
is likely that Atticus gave the signal for the opening of the
struggle. Antony had left Rome on November 28, and news
must soon have reached the capital of his failure to regain con-
trol of his mutinous troops. The publication of the second
Philippic was Cicero's declaration of war. 310
On the later years of Atticus information is very slight.
Nepos says that he never financed a political movement, and
that even when the friends of Brutus proposed raising a fund
to support the cause of the tyrannicides, Atticus refused to co-
operate. 311 No conclusion can be drawn from this instance, as
we do not know who were the proposers nor what was Atticus'
estimate of their ability to handle money, yet it is probable that
the determination not to stake his fortune on a political hazard
was a part of the program of neutrality that Atticus had
adopted for his personal course early in life, and that nothing
but a combination of belief in a party and confidence in its
management such as was vouchsafed to him only once would
have tempted him to depart from his rule.
Another principle that Atticus adopted early and adhered to
tenaciously was that of political amnesty. Even after the death
of Cicero and Brutus, Atticus lived on good terms with the
victors. 312 If this was due partly to regard for his own safety,
it was doubtless partly determined by the conviction, formed
in his earliest experience in Rome and strengthened by his ob-
servation in Greece, that a state which suffered the perpetua-
308 Ad. Fam. XI. 5, I.
309 XVI. 15, 5 and 6.
310 Our only information on Atticus' position during the rest of Cicero's
life is the evidence of Ad Brut. 16 and 17. If these are genuine, At-
ticus was still trying to promote harmony between his friends and
urging on Brutus the support that he owed to Cicero.
811 Att. 8, 3. It was Flavius who asked Atticus to head the movement.
312 At least eventually ; Nep.^tt. 19; the betrothal of Caecilia through
Antony's mediation probably took place in 36. It may have been An-
tony's expression of gratitude for Atticus' kindness to Fulvia. Dru-
mann, V. 89. Groebe conjectures 37 as the date of the betrothal. It
must have come before the final break between Antony and Octavius.
ATTICUS IN POLITICS. 101
tion of political grievances was neither fit to live in nor des-
tined to survive.
His quiescence was not servile. He always maintained his
privilege of serving the vanquished. Nepos gives a long list
of victims of party defeat whom Atticus assisted with money
the younger Marius in his flight from Rome, 313 Cicero at
the time of his exile, 314 Brutus on his withdrawal from Italy, 315
various Antonians, among them Fulvia, after the battle of
Mutina, 316 the expatriated republicans after Philippi. 317 It
satisfied not only his generosity but also his fastidious sense of
honor to prove the disinterestedness of his friendship by serv-
ing those whom it was unprofitable and perhaps dangerous to
Atticus' counsel, like his money, served best in hours of de-
feat. Cicero felt that he could rely on the shrewdness of At-
ticus to measure the difficulties of a situation and to decide
whether it called for action or submission. He trusted Atticus'
insight in regard to character and motive. In a great measure
this confidence was justified, yet the judgment of Atticus was
by no means unerring. He was sometimes influenced by sen-
timent, though less so than Cicero. In the case of Caesar, his
estimate seems to have been too much determined by old dis-
trust, second-hand impressions, rumors, too little by an open
minded observation of the man's development. While he ad-
mired bold initiative action, his temperamental caution kept
him from recommending it ; even at times when he longed to
see it tried, he could not make large or effective plans for it.
The greatest value of his counsel lay in its constant moral
stimulus. If he could not advise great action, he could advise
great renunciations. Whether he could have steeled himself
to recommending martyrdom if he had thought cause and oc-
313 Alt. 2, 2.
3" Ibid. 4, 4-
ibid. 8, 6.
. , .
316 Ibid. 9, 3 and 4.
317 Ibid, ii, I ; cf. 12, 3 and 5.
318 Ibid. 2, 3-5.
102 TITUS POMPONIUS ATTICUS.
casion worthy it is not possible to say; he certainly did not
want Cicero to suffer martyrdom for the sake of Pompey, nor
Brutus at the hands of Antony. But there was in him strength
to advise Cicero to put aside proffered advancement for the
sake of principle, to insist on work in smaller spheres when he
had thus closed to himself the great avenues to prosperity and
honors, and through years of such work to supply him with
patience, courage and a sense of accomplishment.
I was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, August 28, 1876.
My father was John Hill Byrne, my mother Mary Reinhold
Byrne. I received my early education in the public schools of
Lancaster and the Millersville State Normal School, from
which I was graduated in 1894.
In the summer of 1904 I took courses in Latin and Greek at
Cornell University under Professor Bennett, Mr. Durham and
Professor Bristol. In November, 1906, I received permission
through a special ruling of the Council of Wellesley College
to pass off courses by examination. After completing three
years of work by the presentation of papers and by examina-
tion, I entered the college as a resident student in September,
1907, and was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts
in June, 1908.
I taught various subjects, principally Greek and Latin, in the
Union High School, Coleraine, Pennsylvania, 1894-1896, 1899-
1900, in Mrs. Blackwood's School, Lancaster, Pennsylvania,
1896-1899, 1900-1901, in Miss Stahr's School, afterwards the
Shippen School, Lancaster, 1901-1909, in Miss Hills' School,
Philadelphia, 1909-1911, and in the Baldwin School, Bryn
Mawr, Pennsylvania, 1911-1917. In the year 1917-1918 I
have been Associate Professor of Latin and Greek in trie West-
ern College for Women, Oxford, Ohio.
During the years 1909-1916, I studied at Bryn Mawr Col-
lege, taking graduate courses in Latin under Dr. Wheeler and
Dr. Frank, in Greek under Dr. Sanders and Dr. Wright. To
all these professors I wish to express my indebtedness. The
work on my dissertation has been done under the direction of
Dr. Frank, to whom especially I owe gratitude for stimulus and
I took the preliminary examinations required of candidates
for a doctorate of philosophy in December, 1915 and January,
1916, the final examination in June, 1918.
BINDING SECT. DEC 5 - 1969
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260 Titus Pomponius Atticus
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